UAE Mars Mission: Commemorative stamps issued as journey to Red Planet crosses halfway mark

The stamps feature the Emirates’ Hope probe that is en route to Mars

Four commemorative stamps celebrating UAE Mars Mission have been issued by Emirates Post. Emirates Post 
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Four commemorative stamps celebrating the UAE's historic mission to Mars have been issued by Emirates Post.

The collection charts the Hope probe's historic journey to the Red Planet, which is more than 50 per cent complete.

Two of stamps display the design of the satellite and the others illustrate the milestone moment the orbiter launched on board a Japanese rocket from Tanegashima Island on July 20.

Emirates Post issued an initial run of 100,000 of the stamps, along with 1,000 first day cover sheets.

They are now on sale at Emirates Post Central Customer Happiness Centres and online.

The Hope probe has already crossed 249.1 million kilometres of its 493.5 million-kilometre trip.

It is travelling at a speed of 99,915 kilometres per hour.

A first day cover celebrating the UAE's historic mission to Mars has been issued by Emirates Post. Emirates Post 
A first day cover celebrating the UAE's historic mission to Mars has been issued by Emirates Post. Emirates Post 

A third course correction manoeuvre is set to be carried out by Emirati engineers at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre’s ground control centre next month.

This will be a major course correction, as the satellite gets closer to the Martian orbit.

Live tracking is available on the Emirates Mars Mission website and it appears the probe's arrival date will be February 9 or 10.

Once it arrives, it will study the upper and lower atmosphere of the Red Planet and its weather dynamics using its three scientific instruments.

However, the probe must first enter the Martian orbit, which is no easy task. More than half of the previous Mars missions failed.

Omran Sharaf, project manager of the mission, said he was aware of the challenges ahead.

"Yes, I am very nervous about it [Mars orbit insertion]," he told The National this month.

“At the end of the day, no matter how much you do, a very small mistake happens or if something goes slightly off, you lose the whole mission.

“Orbit insertion is a very risky operation. A lot of the countries couldn't make it in their first attempt. We are aware of that and we're trying to mitigate the risks.”

Mars missions by the US and China were also launched in July before the tight launch window closed this summer.

Their spacecraft are en route to Mars and are due to arrive at about the same time as Hope.