The first interplanetary mission conducted by the UAE enjoys a great start. After a flawless launch the probe reached the target transfer orbit without issues and deployed its solar panels. It is now on its way to the Red Planet.
Hope (called Al Amal in Arabic) was launched from Tanegashima, Japan, with the help of a Mitsubishi-developed rocket booster. The event took place on Sunday afternoon, a few minutes before 3 PM Pacific Time. Videos of the historic launch are already available on the internet, as history was written.
A historic achievement
As in the case of all launches, the final step was accompanied by a countdown. The final ten seconds of the countdown was broadcast in Arabic, marking a new milestone. While difficult weather conditions led to two consecutive delays earlier this week, the launch took place after five days since the initial launch objective.
The mission was also affected by the coronavirus pandemic, like many of the current initiatives that are active or in development at this point. Since it wasn’t something that could be expected, the people who contributed to the mission had to find novel solutions to tackle some challenges without endangering their health.
According to the current calculation, the probe will travel 500 million kilometers before it reaches Mars. It is estimated that the journey should take almost seven months, with the first stages of the observation mission being planet soon after it reaches the orbit of the planet.
Hope will study the atmosphere of Mars in an attempt to collect more data about weather phenomena at a global scale, including the massive dust storms that have fascinated researchers for years and seasonal variations. The probe is also fitted with a high-resolution camera array that should be able to take impressive pictures.
Several launches that target Mars are scheduled for the following weeks as the interest in the planet continues to grow.