The United Arab Emirates successfully launched its first space ship for Mars bound
Today, the United Arab Emirates’ first planetary mission successfully took off from the southern tip of Japan, sending a car of the size of probe bound for the planet Mars. The launch marks the beginning of the country’s most ambitious space project yet, the purpose of the study the weather on Mars, as it prepared the entire planet for years.
The spacecraft, called Hope, took off on top of a Japanese H-IIA rocket from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center at 6:58AM at the launch site (or 5:58PM ET this afternoon on the east coast of the US). The investigation will now spend the next seven months traveling through deep space, periodically the correction of the course with a series of engine burns. Then sometime in February of 2021, it’ll try to put itself into an elongated orbit around Mars where it will analyze the environment and climate throughout the course of each Martian day.
For the United Arab Emirates at the time of launch it was absolutely important. United Arab Emirates government in the belly of this project in 2014 to encourage young Emirati teen, and as a bold way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country’s founding in December 2021. To ensure that hope is in orbit of by anniversary, the team behind the spacecraft was to start this summer, during a small window when Earth and Mars come close together during their orbit around the sun. This planetary alignment happens once every 26 months, so the United Arab Emirates Team was to start this year to meet the 2021 deadline.
So far the launch seems to have been a smooth one. A few minutes later, the spacecraft deployed from the rocket, engineers feared that the car was not opened this in one of two solar energy panels. But the United Arab Emirates at the end of this thing is confirmed that both panels had been deployed. The mission team noted that they were in communication with, spacecraft and hope appeared to be in good condition. Engineers will continue to analyze the data coming from the spacecraft and provide updates on the health of the hope that in the coming hours.
But some in the UAE are already celebrating. “Years of hard work and dedication have paid in a big way,” Yousuf Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States, said during a live following the launch. “Thanks to the mission team’s efforts, the UAE’s first space ship, which six years ago was just a concept, just an idea is now flying in space, well on its way to another planet. This is a very big success. But this is only the beginning.”
To get to this point proved to be a particularly difficult process for the United Arab Emirates, which only experience was the launching of the Earth observing satellites until now. Engineers and scientists only six years to get the probe ready for launch this year, and his government tasked them with building the spacecraft themselves-not buying it — within a set budget of $200 million for development and launch.
“The government was very clear to us about this: they wanted us to come up with a new model the process of such mission and the provision of such a mission,” Omran Sharaf, Project Manager for UAE Mars mission during a press conference ahead of the launch. “If they don’t want something with a big budget. They wanted something to be delivered quick, fast, and is something that we can share with the rest of the world about how they can approach a mission.”
The team behind the mission decided that they ultimately don’t want to go it alone. They partnered with different educational institutions, including the United States University of Colorado at Boulder, Arizona State University and the University of California, Berkeley, all of whom had had experience of the design, devices or equipment for the deep space probe before. The partnership allowed the United Arab Emirates Team to build on the known spacecraft design and to use the existing testing infrastructure, as well as gain knowledge from experienced aerospace engineers.
Today’s launch is a big win for the United Arab Emirates and this new model for the spacecraft’s development — but there is still a long way to go before the country’s Mars mission is announced a success. In about a month, engineers will do the first maneuver to correct for the hope of the way on Mars. The car will burn its onboard thrusters, a little nudging investigation of it as its way through space. A series of these drills need to make sure that Hope reaches the right place on Mars in the arrival. “It’s a very small target,” stomach Withnell, program manager for mission at the University of Colorado Boulder, said during a press call forward start. “This is equivalent to an Archer hitting a two millimeter target from a km away. So it’s not for the faint of heart.”
And the biggest test of all will come in February, when Hope must conduct a 30-minute burn of its thrusters to insert itself into orbit around Mars. The maneuver is meant to slow the spacecraft down from more than 75,000 miles an hour (121,000 km for an hour) more than 11,000 miles an hour (18,000 kilometers an hour). The spacecraft will have to do it all on their own, input from the ground up without. At this point, it will take too long to get a signal to Mars in time to make any corrections, so the burn must be completely autonomous.
It’s still a ways off, and for now, the United Arab Emirates, is celebrating a successful launch. If everything goes well, the United Arab Emirates beginning should be the first of three missions to Mars, its launch within the net month. Next up will likely be China, which is hoping to launch a Martian orbiter, a lander and rover to the red planet around July 23rd. This after NASA, which is launching the dare rover, designed to look for signs of past life and the excavation of artifacts that will potentially be returned to Earth in the next decade to study. All these groups are racing to start, while the planets are aligned, and time is running out to get them all away from Earth.
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