The UAE’s first Mars orbiter is ready for its landmark launch, after the final outer body piece was fitted on Tuesday in the presence of members of Dubai’s royal family.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, witnessed the installation at of the last piece of the probe, called Hope, at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.
A total of 150 Emirati engineers, researchers and scientists have been working on the Emirates Mars Mission since it launched in 2014.
Bearing the UAE’s new nation brand logo, the spacecraft was brought to the UAE from the US, where it was built by Emiratis in collaboration with three American varsities.
It will soon be shipped off to Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre for its lift-off during a narrow launch window of July 14 to August 3.
During their visit to the space centre, Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan were briefed on the final technical and logistical preparations ahead of the probe’s launch.
“Our country is a pioneer in writing history and making achievements, and we will gift the world a wealth of space science and knowledge. The Hope Probe is being prepared for launch to Mars, taking with it the message of an Emirati homeland, the hope of a nation, and the aspirations of Arab and Islamic peoples for a bright future,” Sheikh Mohammed said on Tuesday.
“The Hope Probe represents the Emirati family and Emirati society through the cohesion of its members and the collective of its performance and the excellence of its skills and its love for the homeland."
“Our message to the world is a message of peace and hope for a prosperous and sustainable future in which science and knowledge are a book open to peoples.”
Hope is also inscribed with the phrase “the power of hope shortens the distance between the Earth and sky”.
The spacecraft will be launched using Japan’s H-IIA rocket and will reach the red planet by 2021, coinciding with UAE’s 50th anniversary.
“The exploration of Mars has become a reality thanks to the will of a group of young Emiratis who have devoted their time and effort to serving humanity and have become a source of pride and hope for the Arab and Islamic nations," Sheikh Hamdan said.
“Mars is no longer impossible, as we are a people who do not know the word impossible in our dictionary.”
The UAE is the first Arab country attempting to go beyond Earth’s orbit and studying other planets.
If successfully placed on the desired Martian orbit, Hope will study the atmosphere and what caused the planet to die.