The UAE’s $200 million Hope Mars Mission has taken a significant step towards launch after its Hope Probe spacecraft was positioned onto the rocket that will send it into space on July 15, Arabian Business reported.
"All testing and checks leading to the full launch and mission-readiness are currently being carried out," read a joint statement by UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, revealed the Emirates Mars Mission team had developed 200 new designs, manufactured 66 pieces of the probe components in the UAE and published 51 research papers on the project, which has benefited over 60,000 participants through the mission’s scientific and academic programmes.
The Hope Probe is set for lift-off on July 15 at 00:51:27 UAE time from the Tanegashima Space Centre, in Japan.
For now, the encapsulated probe has been transferred to another building where the rocket - first and the second stage - and the launch pad are located.
The mounting of the spacecraft onto the rocket, which was overseen by a team on Emirati engineers on the ground in Japan, involved a thorough monitoring of the interface points, ensuring that all was in order. Subsequently, the Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) and the Arming Plugs were firmly sealed.
Omran Sharaf, Emirates Mars Mission project manager, said, "The encapsulation and mounting of the capsule onto the rocket are one of the key milestones of the mission. It is an intricate process, which encompasses technical evaluations, system verifications and validation and examining every single aspect of the spacecraft."
About an hour after the launch, the probe will separate from the launch rocket. It will launch its solar panels and begin the seven-month journey towards the Red Planet using a propulsion system.
Mohammed Wali, deputy project manager of the launch team, said: "After six years of hard work, our probe is one step closer to launch."
The Hope Probe is anticipated to enter the Mars orbit in February 2021, coinciding with the UAE's Golden Jubilee celebrations.