The UAE has successfully launched its Mars probe, named Hope, making history as the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.
Hope launched from the Japanese space center on Sunday, having been delayed from the previous week due to poor weather conditions. Within a few hours of liftoff, the ground segment at Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre established two-way communication with the probe.
The Hope probe, a $200 million project called “Al Amal” in Arabic, is scheduled to reach Mars’ orbit in February 2021 and will spend one Mars year — equivalent to 687 days on Earth — studying and gathering data on the red planet’s atmosphere. The year 2021 is also significant: it will mark 50 years of the UAE’s existence.
“It is a weather satellite, and that’s one objective of the mission,” Sarah al-Amiri, the Mars mission’s lead scientist and UAE minister of state for advanced sciences told Spaceflight Now. “We also look at what role Mars’ weather plays in atmospheric loss. That’s the other part of the mission.”
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