President Sheikh Khalifa celebrates 'glorious day' as UAE's Hope probe embarks on journey to Mars

Sheikh Khalifa led the tributes as UAE leaders reflected on a history-making moment for the country

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President Sheikh Khalifa led a chorus of celebrations as the UAE's historic Hope probe began its journey to Mars in the early hours of Monday morning.

A nation rejoiced as a diminutive craft carrying with it the biggest of dreams was propelled out of the Earth's atmosphere on a Japanese H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Centre at 1.58am.

It was the spectacular reward for six years of tireless work carried out by a burgeoning UAE space programme.

The probe is now in the early stages of a 200-day, near 500-million kilometre odyssey through space, with the Red Planet its hotly-anticipated destination.

Once there, it will study Mars' unique weather system, delivering valuable data to support international efforts to one day set foot on its surface.

Sheikh Khalifa praised the talented team who had masterminded the landmark mission.

"With pleasure and great pride, we have followed up on the announcement of the successful launch of the Hope Probe, the idea of which was conceived and developed inside our national research and political institutions," said Sheikh Khalifa.

He paid tribute to those who had spearheaded the remarkable project for displaying "bright minds" and being "highly qualified and trained, loyal, and sincere in their loyalty and allegiance."

Sheikh Khalifa said the success of the Hope probe sent out a clear message on the importance of putting faith in science and harnessing the potential of the nation's youth.

On a momentous moment in the UAE's history, Sheikh Khalifa reflected on the contributions of the country's Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed.

"On this glorious day, we remember the late Sheikh Zayed and his brothers, the Founding Fathers, who laid the solid foundation for a country capable of moving towards the future in confidence and appreciation."

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, hailed the successful start to a long journey to Mars.

"We proudly announce the successful launch of the Hope probe," said Sheikh Mohammed on Twitter.

"The ground control station in Dubai has received the first signal from the probe after its solar panels were successfully deployed to charge its batteries. Our 493 million kilometre journey to the Red Planet starts here."

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, highlighted the role played by young and gifted Emiratis in the momentous mission.

"We watched the successful launch of the Hope probe to Mars with pride and joy, as we embark on a new chapter in space, led by our exceptional youth," Sheikh Mohamed said on Monday.

"Congratulations to the UAE for this historic achievement."

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, also offered warm congratulations as a nervous morning gave way to widespread jubilation.

"Congratulations to the president, may God protect him, to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, to the people of the UAE and to the loyal men and women of the team," said Sheikh Hamdan.

"Congratulations on the successful launching of the first Arab mission to Mars.

"Congratulations on entering history and on the successful journey into the upcoming 50 years.

"I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the team.
I salute the men, the heroes, the nation's women, among whom are engineers and achievers."

Burj Khalifa lights up to mark Hope probe launch