Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid hailed the UAE's mission to Mars, saying the "first Arab-Islamic probe" set for the Red Planet was a watershed moment for the nation.
The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai said the momentous mission was a celebration of the rapid development the Emirates had undertaken since its foundation close to 50 years ago, and a shining example of what could be achieved in the half century to come.
“The Hope Probe embodies the culture of possibilities deeply rooted in the UAE’s approach, philosophy and journey of accelerating development," he said.
“The [mission] is an accomplishment for every Arab, a source of pride for every Emirati, and a path-breaking achievement for our engineers.”
Sheikh Mohammed spoke as the countdown began for the final two weeks before launch of the Hope Probe from Japan.
"The UAE's launch of the Hope Probe to Mars in two weeks will be a watershed moment between two important time periods for our country, 50 years ago and 50 years to come," Sheikh Mohammed said at a meeting to review the final preparations of the Emirates Mars Mission.
"The probe represents our journey of human achievement over the past 50 years. We thank Allah that today, we reap the rewards of this journey and make the world proud."
During the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed was briefed on the final pre-launch preparations by Omran Sharaf, project director of the Emirates Mars Mission, who explained the different tasks assigned to the team leading testing operations.
“Our journey to space represents a message of hope to every Arab citizen that we have the innovation, resilience and efforts to compete with the greatest of nations in the race for knowledge," Sheikh Mohammed said.
The meeting, chaired by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, was also attended by Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, Dr Ahmed Belhoul, chairman of the UAE Space Agency, Hamad Al Mansoori, chairman of the board of directors of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and Saeed Al Eter, director general of the Ruler of Dubai’s Executive Office.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed praised the efforts of young Emiratis who had helped turn a dream into a reality.
“Hope Probe highlights our national treasure of hundreds of young Emirati engineers and experts working on the mission. These young people are part of drafting a beautiful chapter in the UAE’s future,” said Sheikh Hamdan.
“Despite challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, we remained committed to our plans to meet the launch schedule of the historic space mission, in efforts which have truly reflected the UAE’s slogan that the impossible is possible.
“The Hope Probe represents a message of hope and optimism to mankind. Our space mission is aimed at serving humanity.”
Emirati engineers have been at the Tanegashima Space Centre since April, looking after the spacecraft that took nearly six years to build.
Hope was sent to Japan along with its engineers ahead of schedule because of Covid-19 travel restrictions. The team also had to complete the mandatory 15-day quarantine period well before the launch day, on Wednesday, July 15.
For the past two months, the Hope team in Japan have been carrying out regular tests on the spacecraft to ensure it is ready for its seven-month journey to Mars and its scientific mission once it arrives in February, 2021 – in time for the UAE’s golden jubilee.