A major milestone was announced as the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), the first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab nation, revealed its Mars Hope probe has completed a fifth of its journey to the Red Planet, journeying over 100 million kilometers since its successful launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre on the 20th July 2020.
Omran Sharaf, Project Director of the Emirates Mars Mission, commented, “We have accomplished ourfirst trajectory correction maneuver, which was the first test of Mars Hope’s propulsion and trajectory control systems, as well as the first time the spacecraft’s six Delta-V thrusters have been activated. That 21-second burn put us firmly on track towards Mars. We’re delighted with the performance of Mars Hope so far.”
Traveling at speed of some 121,000 km/h, the Mars Hope probe will perform a number of further trajectory control maneuvers, or TCMs, to reach its scheduled Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) in early February 2021. A critical time for the Mission, MOI will involve slowing the spacecraft to 18,000 km/h over a 30-minute period, during which its thrusters will burn almost half of the onboard reserve of Hydrazine fuel. If successful, this will place the Mars Hope probe in its Mars Capture Orbit before a period of instrument and systems testing, followed by a transition to its Science Orbit.
The Emirates Mars Mission and the Hope probe are the culmination of a knowledge transfer and development effort started in 2006, which has seen Emirati engineers working with partners around the world to develop The Emirates’ spacecraft design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. part of a long-term integrated effort to create economic opportunity through leadership in space sciences, research and exploration. The probe was named Mars Hope as a symbol of hope for all young Arabs.
The Emirates Mars Mission is part of a long-term integrated effort to create economic opportunity around leadership in space sciences, research and exploration.
Mars Hope is a fully autonomous spacecraft, carrying three instruments to measure Mars’ atmosphere. Weighing some 1,350 kg, and approximately the size of a small SUV, the spacecraft was designed and developed by MBRSC engineers working with academic partners, including LASP at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Arizona State University and the University of California, Berkeley.
The Emirates Mars Mission is focused on atmospheric dynamics. The Mars Hope probe will explore the atmosphere of Mars globally while sampling both daily and seasonal timescales. The probe’s unique, elliptical orbit will support the first global picture of Mars’ weather. For the first time, scientists based in over 200 universities and research institutes globally will have access to a holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day, through different seasons.
Understanding atmospheres of other planets, allows us to better understand our own planet and also better understand other planets in the universe.
The Emirates Mars Mission was developed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) working in conjunction with its knowledge transfer partners and funded by the UAE Space Agency.