UAE’s Hope spacecraft is heading for Mars

The United Arab Emirates deployed its orbiter on the 19th of July via a Japanese rocket to illustrate their advancing space exploration potential. The H-2A rocket took off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. Initially, it was to launch on the 14th of July before the postponement due to bad weather. After the launch, the rocket deployed the Emirates Mars Mission or Hope spaceship an hour later. The spacecraft then linked communications with the earthbound control system.

Hope satellite is a creation of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), weighing approximately 1400 kilograms. The spacecraft will be advancing Mars before February next year to orbit around the planet in observation of its docking site. It will then go further into its prime orbit ranging from 20000 to 43000 kilometers to conduct scientific and astronomical observations.

The creation of Hope spacecraft began in 2013 as part of the UAE’s move to deeply venture space. This move came after the country’s satisfaction in developing a sequence of Earth-imaging and Earth-observation satellites. Hope’s project manager Omran Sharaf explains that this project is the country’s pattern of expounding career ventures for its scientists. 

Hope satellite is equipped with a camera, an ultraviolet spectrometer, and an infrared spectrometer. The spacecraft intends to study the Martian atmosphere to gather new knowledge concerning the weather and climate of this red planet.

The UAE’s state minister for advanced sciences Sarah al-Amiri explains that this project intends to photograph the Martian planet on behalf of the entire nation and create opportunities for other scientists to venture the planet. She reiterates that Hope satellite is the first satellite to study the weather and climatic patterns of Mars.

The UAE’s partners in this Hope project are Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the University of California Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory, Arizona State University, and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado. These institutions facilitated the development of the spacecraft and its equipment.

The director of LASP, Daniel Baker, admits that Hope will establish peculiar data concerning the Martian weather since it has these unique instruments. He adds that this move by UAE verifies that space exploration is a global venture and not entirely a superiority competition. NASA is also a partner to hasten this venture by availing its Deep Space Network for communications.

Finally, NASA’s administrator Jim Bridenstine indicated that this would be a footstep by the UAE to diversify its explorative capabilities beyond Earth. He is delighted that they can support the Hope spacecraft to gather weather and climatic updates, which will be essential in their future agreements like the Artemis program.