UAE leaders praised Mars team’s hard work to make launch happen amid Covid-19


It was all hands on deck as the UAE gears up for the Hope probe liftoff – with the country’s leaders taking the time to personally review the final checks for the launch.

In a video call on Saturday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) reached out to the Hope probe teams on the ground in Japan and the control room in Dubai’s Al Khawaneej.

As details of pre-flight preparations were discussed, they carefully listened to how the Mars mission team will send Hope to space – from the last checks done on the probe to the plans set to manage several launch phases.

All the hard work that went into making the mission happen shone through, earning praise from the UAE leaders.

The mission’s launch team in Japan have completed all the tests and technical checks to prepare Hope for takeoff. After adverse weather conditions delayed its scheduled liftoff time twice, the UAE’s mission to Mars is set to launch on July 20, 2020, at 1.58am UAE time.

The 83-hour journey

During the video conference on Saturday, the UAE leaders particularly lauded the relentless efforts of the Emirati teams in Japan and Dubai. They hailed how they were able to transport the probe from the MBRSC to the launch site on Tanegashima Island – despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It took the team 83 hours to move the probe from Dubai to Japan. And since its arrival on the island in April, Emirati engineers have worked 24/7 to conduct all pre-flight checks.

Once Hope blasts off to space, the team at the ground station in MBRSC in Al Khawaneej are set to monitor its journey until it enters the Martian orbit.

In the first 30 days, the team at the control room will undertake round-the-clock shifts to control the probe and record its first transmission.

Data is expected to come in when the probe is released from the rocket. At this time, two solar panels will be deployed to charge the spacecraft’s on-board batteries.

The Hope probe’s liftoff to Mars is the outcome of a six-year journey of 200 Emirati engineers and researchers coming together to build the Arab world’s first spacecraft.

Along the way, the Emirates Mars Mission helped develop 200 new technologies and build 66 parts of the probe in the UAE.

The Hope Mars Mission is considered the biggest strategic and scientific national initiative announced by the UAE’s President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2014.

The UAE will be the first Arab nation to embark on a space mission to the Red Planet.

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