The United Arab Emirates is planning to launch its first-ever mission to Mars in 2020, an unmanned orbiter called ‘Hope’ from Japan’s space centre.
According to Yuichi Yamaura, Vice President of Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency, the expected launching date of the orbiter would be sometime in July 2020 when the Earth and Mars will be aligned at their closest point. It would be the first-ever Mars Mission from an Arab country.
Yamaura further added that they are delighted to launch the UAE Mars explorer from Japanese vehicle H-IIA at the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. Yamaura is confident that they along with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will be able to fulfil their responsibility.
• The unmanned orbiter programme mainly aims to add more detail to the knowledge available about Martian climate and atmosphere.
• According to the plan, around 150 engineers and scientists will be working on the project.
• The Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the mission has already been completed, according to Omran Sharaf, the mission’s project manager.
• The project is being supported and financed by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.
• The Prince is also the Chairman of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the organiser of the project.
• The Hope spacecraft is expected to enter the Martian orbit by early 2021, which is also the year when UAE celebrates its 50th independence anniversary.
• By 2018, the KhalifaSat satellite, which has been designed entirely by UAE engineers, will also be launched from Japan using the same model of carrier rocket.
About Hope Spacecraft
• It will be a compact, hexagonal-section spacecraft.
• It will be built from aluminium in a stiff but lightweight honeycomb structure with its surface made with a strong composite face-sheet.
• Its overall size and weight will be similar to a small car and it will weigh around it will weigh around 1,500 kg including fuel.
• The spacecraft’s brain will be equipped with advanced software that will be capable of guiding it into the Mars orbit without the need of any human assistance from the Earth.
• The spacecraft will be carrying three scientific instruments for its mission to study the Martian atmosphere:
An Imager: It is a digital camera that will send back high-resolution colour images.
An Infra-Red Spectrometer: It will examine temperature patterns, ice, water vapour and dust present in the atmosphere.
An Ultraviolet Spectrometer: It will study the upper atmosphere and traces of oxygen and hydrogen further out into space.