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.

Hope or Amal in Arabic is scheduled for launch to space between July 14 and August 3, 2020 from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan. The UAE’s unmanned probe will create mankind’s first integrated model of the Red Planet’s atmosphere.

Speaking on the latest update on Hope, Sarah Al Amiri, minister of state for advanced sciences, said in a tweet: “We have reached the final stage of environmental testing of the Hope Mars Mission. The spacecraft will enter the thermal vacuum chamber this week.”

Testing space probes or spacecraft inside a thermal vacuum chamber is an important requirement before launch. The vacuum conditions simulate the unique and extreme conditions in space so designers would know how they perform in space.

If this is not done, the probe could face several risks such as freezing or overheating of the satellite’s components.

Probes and satellites face extreme temperatures when exposed to sunlight and when they are not. Some satellites experience 150 degrees C when in sunlight, for example, which drastically drops to -190 degrees C when in the sun’s shadow.

The Hope Probe completed several other tests including the functionality of the spacecraft, software, system and subsystems, vibration test and shock test, among others.

What is Hope Probe?

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.