Dubai: Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, reviewed the final preparations of the Hope Probe Mission team, as the mission readies to enter its most critical phase — the Mars Orbit Insertion — on February 9 at 7.42pm (UAE time). Sheikh Hamdan was accompanied in the review meeting held at the ground control centre of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs.
Sheikh Hamdan was briefed about the various aspects of the Mars Orbit Insertion. The Hope Probe has so far travelled 493 million kilometres in space since it was launched on July 20, 2020.
During the visit, Sheikh Hamdan said the Hope Probe represents an exceptional model in the Arab world for empowering young talent in science, technology and space related fields, and enhancing international cooperation in research and development. The mission also promotes knowledge exchange in the international scientific community to help create a brighter future for humanity.
Team is ready
“I was briefed by the Hope Probe team at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre about the final preparations for the first Arab Mars probe’s entry into the red planet’s orbit. The team is ready for all scenarios as the Hope Probe gears up for its Mars Orbit Insertion and the commencement of its scientific mission,” Sheikh Hamdan said.
The Emirates Mars Mission’s success in reaching this crucial phase sends a message of hope and pride to the Arab world’s youth that we can accomplish great things and succeed in implementing such unique projects.
“The Emirates Mars Mission’s success in reaching this crucial phase sends a message of hope and pride to the Arab world’s youth that we can accomplish great things and succeed in implementing such unique projects. The steadfast support of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to this project has enabled the UAE to make history as the fifth country to reach Mars,” he added.
High level of excellence
Sheikh Hamdan also praised the efforts of the Hope Probe Mission team. “I thank all the task forces of the Hope Probe who have demonstrated the highest level of teamwork, innovation, excellence and determination to turn challenges into opportunities. The Mission promoted collaboration and knowledge exchange with scientific partners around the world,” he noted.
During the visit, Sheikh Hamdan met with task forces in charge of scientific, engineering and operations and praised their efforts and accomplishments that helped the Hope Probe make steady progress in its journey. This success enhances the UAE’s global profile in the space exploration landscape. As the first Arab country to launch a space mission to Mars, the Probe has opened new horizons for international scientific cooperation.
What will Hope Probe do
Once the Hope Probe enters the Mars orbit, on February 9, 2021, it will orbit Mars and start gathering up to 1,000 gigabytes of scientific data about the Martian atmosphere. The data will be shared for free with 200 scientific and academic institutions around the world.
The Hope Probe team has prepared for all scenarios as it faces its most critical and complex manoeuvre, with a 50-50 chance of successfully entering the Mars orbit. Once it gets close to Mars, the spacecraft must slow down significantly to be captured by Martian gravity, reducing its cruising speed from 121,000kph to about 18,000kph. The Hope Probe will do an autonomous orbit insertion, using star trackers to determine its position in space.
Omran Sharaf, Project Director of Emirates Mars Mission; Zakaria Al Shamsi, Deputy Project Director for the operations of Hope Probe, and Suhail Al Dhafri, Deputy Project Manager of Emirates Mars Mission were present during the review by Sheikh Hamdan.