UAE launches the Arab world's first Mars mission

UAE launches the Arab world's first Mars mission
The United Arab Emirates has finally launched its first Mars mission, following delays due to bad weather.
2 min read
20 July, 2020
The rocket finally launched [Getty]

The UAE successfully launched its Mars-bound Hope probe late Sunday, after two failed starts due to bad weathers, making it the Arab world's first mission to the Red Planet.

It will be the first of three international missions to Mars this summer, which is set to take place despite disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hope probe took off from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan after delays last week due to bad weather.

The rocket booster successfully separated from the launch vehicle and the probe established communication with the ground segment in Dubai.

The probe is one of three racing to the Red Planet, with Chinese and US rockets also taking advantage of the Earth and Mars being unusually close: a mere hop of 55 million kilometres (34 million miles).

"Hope" - Al-Amal in Arabic - is expected to start orbiting Mars by February 2021, marking the 50th anniversary of the unification of the UAE.

Once there, it will loop the planet for a whole Martian year of 687 Earth days.

The goal is to provide a comprehensive image of weather dynamics in the Red Planet's atmosphere.

"It's an honor to be part of the global efforts to explore deep space," tweeted the official Hope Mars Mission account after the launch.

"The Hope Probe is the culmination of every single step that humans have taken throughout history to explore the unknown depths of space."

NASA is also expected to launch its Perseverance Rover in the summer, along with China's Tianwen 1, both of which are expected to take off between late July and early August.

The three countries are have decided to launch at this time due to an occurrence of a biennial window, which means Mars and Earth are closest together and would make the journey to the Red Planet that much shorter.

NASA tweeted its congratulations, writing on Perseverance's official Twitter page: "I wish you a successful journey and look forward to the sol when we are both exploring Mars ... I cannot wait to join you on the journey!"

The UAE launched two satellites before, one in 2009 and another in 2013, but they were developed with South Korean partners.

The country founded its space agency in 2014, and the Hope probe is its most ambitious step into space exploration.

"The data gathered by the probe will add a new dimension to the human knowledge," said Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, on Twitter.

"This is our latest contribution to the world."

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