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Abu Dhabi International Airport welcomed the return of UAE Space Agency delegation, participating in Emirates Mars Mission launch when they landed on home soil after a flight from Haneda International Airport in Japan. Representatives from Abu Dhabi Airports were on the tarmac to welcome the team back into the UAE, following the successful launch of the Hope Probe on 20 July 2020 from the Tanegashima launch pad in Japan. Image Credit:

Dubai/ Abu Dhabi: Members of the UAE Hope Probe team who went to Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre (TNSC) have returned to the UAE on Friday night following the successful launch of the first Arab interplanetary mission to Mars on July 20.

Two separate flights

The team arrived in two separate flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and President of the UAE Space Agency, led the team that arrived at the Dubai International Airport (DXB); while Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, spearheaded the team that arrived at the Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Senior officials from AUH welcomed the return of UAE Space Agency delegation who flew from Haneda International Airport in Japa via Etihad Airways while officials from DXB and Dubai Customs gave each member of the Hope Probe team a bouquet of flowers and a warm hero’s welcome upon their arrival.

Shareef Hashim Al Hashmi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, commented: “The successful development and launch of the Hope Probe is the result of our visionary leadership’s commitment to empowering our talented youth, investing in aerospace technology, and realising the ambition of our nation’s late Founding Father who recognised the transformational potential of the space and aviation industries.”

Three months in Japan

Some members of the Hope Probe team spent more than three months in Japan. In preparation for the launch and due to the coroanavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the team working on the Mission were divided into three sub-teams that worked on transportation, travel, logistics and safety protocols.

The first set of Emirati engineers reached Japan on April 6 and underwent the mandatory quarantine and health checks, while the second team arrived on April 21. The third team, led by Omran Sharaf, Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) Project Manager, remained in the UAE and provided technical back-up support to the Mission.

Cruising to Mars

Hope Probe, which will provide a complete picture of the Red Planet’s atmosphere, is expected to reach Mars’ orbit in February next year.

The orbiter was built by a team of around 200 Emirati scientists and engineers. The first Arab interplanetary mission was sent to space at 1.58am on July 20 aboard Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-IIA rocket. It reached its space orbit one hour after it took off from TNSC, after two cancellations on July 15 and July 17 due to bad weather.

Hope Probe is currently cruising at a speed of 126,000kph to complete its 200-day, 495-million km journey to Mars.

Sharaf said the team at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre is conducting a 24/7 monitoring of Hope Probe for two weeks.

He earlier told reporters: “We receive at MBRSC the telemetry (collection of measurements or other data at remote points) to check its (Hope Probe) health. In the third week (as Hope Probe is cruising to Mars) contact will be two to three times per week, with contact time about six hours each.”

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Abu Dhabi International Airport welcomed the return of UAE Space Agency delegation, participating in Emirates Mars Mission launch when they landed on home soil after a flight from Haneda International Airport in Japan. Representatives from Abu Dhabi Airports were on the tarmac to welcome the team back into the UAE, following the successful launch of the Hope Probe on 20 July 2020 from the Tanegashima launch pad in Japan.

Eearlier told reporters: “We receive at MBRSC the telemetry (collection of measurements or other data at remote points) to check its (Hope Probe) health. In the third week (as Hope Probe is cruising to Mars) contact will be two to three times per week, with contact time about six hours each.”

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In preparation for the launch and due to the coroanavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the team working on the Mission were divided into three sub-teams that worked on transportation, travel, logistics and safety protocols.