Abu Dhabi: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Monday attended a session on preparations to launch UAE’s Hope Probe (Mars Mission) in July 2020.

Titled "Hope Probe: Eight months to Launch", the session was presented by Sara Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, as part of the third of the UAE Government annual meetings.

She said preparations are in full swing to launch the Hope Probe into orbit in July 2020, and it is expected to reach Mars orbit in February 2021.

Sara Al Amiri said the work team has completed a series of thermal vacuum tests simulating the space environment. The vacuum conditions simulate the unique and extreme conditions in space, which is one of the most important stages of the Hope Mars Mission.

Al Amiri said, "The mission, initiated at the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stems from Shaikh Mohammed's unique culture purporting that there are no impossibilities."

She added that there is a complete adherence to the mission's budget which equals one third of the total cost of any similar project in the world, noting that after six years of hard work, only eight months are remaining ahead of the official launch.

Hope, the first Arab probe to Mars, has reached its final stage of environmental testing and will enter another phase of testing to ensure its performance once in space. The probe is scheduled for launch to space in July from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan to reach Mars in February 2021. The UAE’s unmanned probe will create mankind’s first integrated model of the Red Planet’s atmosphere.

The Hope Probe is a compact, hexagonal spacecraft whose overall size and weight is comparable to a small car. Once launched next year, it is expected to cruise and reach Mars in seven months, covering a distance of more than 60 million kilometres.