The UAE’s Mars Hope Probe is Almost Ready for Launch

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the UAE Space Agency have announced that most of the main parts for their Mars probe have been completed. They are presently being tested to confirm that the probe will be ready for activation before its launch date in 2020

MBRSC Hope Probe is scheduled to launch in under 500 days arriving at Mars by 2021, which corresponds to the 50th anniversary of the UAE's foundation.

Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, the Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency said, "The UAE is on the verge of making history, after turning its dream of becoming the first Arabic and Islamic country to send a spacecraft to Mars into reality. This monumental endeavour is the culmination of the efforts of a skilled and experienced team of young Emiratis who, with the support of the nation and its visionary leadership, will secure the UAE's position at the forefront of space exploration.”

The team has already tested several components. For instance, they have examined the probe's design, its assembly, its cameras, and its control in addition to checking other systems such as its ability to communicate with the ground station.

The probe’s scientific instruments are also ready, including the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), the Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS), and the Emirates Exploration Imager (EXI). These tools will help accomplish the scientific goals of the mission, which is to gain a better understanding of Mars’ atmosphere.

So far, the probe has passed all of its tests with flying colors, and from June to December 2019, the Hope Probe will go through a series of five environmental tests.

Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, director-general of the UAE Space Agency, stated that “as the development of the Hope Probe enters its final stages, we mark yet another milestone achievement for this aspirational project. The next and final stage, before the probe's launch, will involve testing the probe's readiness to operate in outer space."

This mission will also take a global picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time. This integrated picture of Mars’ atmosphere will be taken throughout the day and for an extended period, capturing all relevant data about the Red Planet during different seasons throughout the year. The results will be accessible to the scientific community worldwide.