Mission to Mars - Hope / Al Amal
The mission to Mars program is the first by an Arab, Islamic country. The program will be fully financed and supervised by the UAE Space Agency and developed by Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in support of international partners. “Sheikh Zayed was the hope of the UAE and the UAE is the hope of the region,” said Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. “Our generation is the hope of Arabs and Muslims, so the choice of the name for the probe is Hope.” In Arabic, it is called Al Amal.
In an historic announcement in July 2014, the President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan revealed the formation of the UAE Space Agency and the intention of sending the first Arabic-Islamic probe to Mars, which will be fully developed by a 100% Emirati team, on a scientific voyage of discovery by 2021, named the Emirates Mars Mission.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said: "We chose the epic challenge of reaching Mars because epic challenges inspire us and motivate us. The moment we stop taking on such challenges is the moment we stop moving forward.”
The UAE entered the global race to explore outer space with the first Arabic-Islamic probe developed by a 100% Emirati team, on a scientific voyage of discovery to the Red Planet by 2021.
MBRSC is working on designing and building the first UAE Arabic-Islamic probe to be sent on a scientific voyage of discovery to Mars. It is a scientific mission that marks the entry of the UAE into the global race of space exploration, and restores the Islamic Arabic leadership in Astronomy and Space Sciences.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, revealed that probe to carry out the Emirates Mars Mission would be named Al Amal, or “Hope”, because the mission represents the hopes and dreams of the Arab world. The Hope Probe will reach Mars in the year of the 50th anniversary of the union of the emirates, adding extra poignancy to the mission.
The project has been described by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid as sending three important messages: The first is that Arab civilisation will again play a pioneering role in contributing to human knowledge, as it once did. The next is that for the Arab world nothing is impossible, we are able to compete with other nations in the race for knowledge, and the third is that those who strive to reach the highest peaks must set no limits to their expectations.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, identified the means, which is developing a national team of highly qualified scientific cadres and engineers who will design and build the probe and monitor its journey.
The UAE will be one of only nine countries with ambitions to explore Mars and the unmanned probe will travel more than 60 million kilometres in nine months and will be launched to coincide with the UAE’s 50th anniversary.
The UAE wants to build the first Arab, Islamic probe to reach Mars by encouraging the peaceful application of space research. Therefore, it is vital that schools, universities and colleges provide world class education in maths, science, physics and space studies. UAE are seeing more courses and labs develop and more institutions commit to and support this exciting field.
The objectives of the mission are:
The UAE Space Agency and Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) signed an agreement to launch the UAE mission to Mars in the presence of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Vice-President described it as a mission of national pride which would contribute to the spread of knowledge.
Sheikh Mohammed said the space agency would be responsible for supervising and organising, developing the sector and ensuring knowledge transfer. It would enhance the UAE’s position as a global player in aerospace and maximise the contribution of space industries to the national economy. “We aim for the UAE to be among the top countries in aerospace by 2021,” Sheikh Khalifa said. “We have a great belief in the talents of our young people and the strongest determination, the greatest ambitions and a clear plan to reach our targets.”
Emiratis will lead the UAE’s mission to Mars took a first step on 21 October 2014 with the UAE Space Agency and Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre) signed an agreement in the presence of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Vice-President called it mission of national pride which would contribute to the spread of knowledge.
In March 2016, the UAESA and MBRSC announced that they would use a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries rocket for the Mars mission. Mitsubishi will launch the U.A.E.’s unmanned probe “Hope” into orbit from the Tanegashima Space Centre in July 2020. The Japanese company was chosen from 10 possible launch service providers across the globe.
The Emirates Mars Mission spacecraft is a compact, hexagonal-section spacecraft. It will be built from aluminium in a stiff but lightweight honeycomb structure and surfaced with a strong composite face-sheet. Its overall size and weight are comparable to a small car: it weighs approximately 1,500 kg including fuel, and measure 2.37m wide by 2.90m tall.
Hope is cubical in shape, with a weight of 1,350 kilograms including fuel. It spans 3 meters wide and 7.9 meters long when its solar panels are open.
The probe will study the Martian atmosphere from a science orbit of 20,000 km periapsis (the point which is nearest to the body that it orbits) and 43,000 km apoapsis (the high point in an orbit), with an orbital period of 55 hours and an orbital inclination of 25 degrees. No other spacecraft that was sent to Mars had such an orbit. Most spacecraft orbit at a single local time that allows the atmosphere to be measured only once in the day. However, the probe Hope will do this for the entire Martian year.
The Emirates Mars Mission orbiter is set to arrive at Mars in 2021 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE. The rocket must blast off from Earth during a brief “launch window” in July 2020. This is because the Earth and Mars orbit the Sun at different rates, and are aligned at their closest point only once every two years. If any part of the mission is not ready in time or fails at the last minute, there may be no second chance.
The UAE’s Emirates Mars Mission, also known as the Hope Probe or Hope Mars Mission, was to lift off from Japan this week and reach Mars in February, 2021. The mission, which is the first interplanetary mission from an Arab country’s space agency, will launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center on Wednesday, July 15. The probe will be mounted onboard a H-IIA rocket that is set to launch at a speed of 34,082 kilometers per hour.
The trip will take around six months for the 493,500,000 kilometer trip to Mars, where it aims to study the climate and atmosphere of the so-called Red Planet. Assuming all goes to plan, the Hope Probe should arrive at Mars to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the formation of the United Arab Emirates.
The Emirates Mars Mission lists three objectives listed under “The First Complete Picture of the Martian Atmosphere”:
- Understand climate dynamics and the global weather map through characterizing the lower atmosphere of Mars.
- Explain how the weather changes the escape of Hydrogen and Oxygen through correlating the lower atmosphere conditions with the upper atmosphere.
- Understand the structure and variability of Hydrogen and Oxygen in the upper atmosphere, as well as identifying why Mars is losing them into space.
To achieve these objectives, the Hope Probe is equipped with an infrared spectrometer, an Emirates exploration imager to take high-resolution photos, and an Emirates Mars ultraviolet spectrometer to scan with ultra violet.
The H2A202 rocket blasted off into space on 20 July 2020 as part of Emirates Mars Mission to explore the Martian atmosphere. It launched not only the probe named ‘Hope’, but also the Emirati dream: the combined Arab ambition to literally soar high. The rocket was launched at 1:58 am on 20 July (UAE time) from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan, reaching speeds of up to 34,082 kilometers per hour. It stayed in the Earth’s orbit until it aligned with Mars, after which it was reignited to push it on a trajectory towards the red planet. Around one hour after the launch, the probe Hope separated from the launcher. 30 minutes later, the probe sent its first signal from space to the operations room at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, via the Deep Space Network communications system.
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