Marking a momentous occasion in the history of the UAE, the first ever Arab interplanetary mission, otherwise known as “Hope Probe” or “Al Amal,” will soon begin its expedition to Mars. The UAE’s probe will launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center on July 17, 12:43 UAE time and will sit aboard a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-IIA rocket, an expendable launch system weighing between 285,000 to 445,000 kilograms.
The date for this exciting journey was selected due to a “launch window” in which Mars and the Earth are orbiting closest together.
It has been reported that an hour after “lift off”, the 24 hours that follow will be the most crucial for the Hope Probe. The mission’s deputy manager, Sarah Al Amiri, spoke to AFP in early July about the exciting journey into unknown territory, and stated, “in my heart of hearts, I’m looking forward to the initial 24 hours after separation, and that’s where we see the results of our work.” She continued, “It is when we first get the signal, when we know that every part of the spacecraft is functioning, when the solar panels are deployed, when we hit our trajectory and are headed towards Mars.”
The distance between Earth and Mars is 495 million kilometers and according to the Hope Probe’s estimated journey time, the probe should land on Mars by February 2021. Once landed, the probe will remain and move around the planet for two earth years, or “one Martian year.”
The Hope Probe may remain on Mars further in case operations are extended, as the journey will be an up close and personal study of Mars’s atmosphere.
If you are interested in watching the launch of the Hope Probe, you can stream it here: https://www.emiratesmarsmission.ae/live/