The UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre has postponed the UAE Mars Mission launch of the Hope Probe spacecraft to July 17 due to bad weather conditions.
The Hope Probe will now be launched on July 17 at 12:43 am UAE time from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.
“The UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, in collaboration with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, have announced a delay of the Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope Probe launch due to the weather conditions at the launch site of Tanegashima Island in Japan,” the UAE Government tweeted.
The probe’s scheduled launch date of July 15 represented the opening of the launch window for the Emirates Mars Mission, which extends to August 13, 2020. Regardless of when it launches during this 30-day window, it is expected to reach the Martian orbit in February 2021.
The link provides an opportunity for everyone to witness the first interplanetary mission from the Arab World. The new date is within the launch window that lasts for about a month every two years when Earth and Mars are closest together.
Hope Probe will study the dynamics of the Martian atmosphere. It is touted as the first true weather satellite at Mars that will provide a complete view of Mars atmosphere and help answer key questions such as why Mars loses its hydrogen and oxygen gases into space.
The launch is the culmination of efforts of a large team of young Emirati cadres, comprising 200 engineers, experts and researchers, who over the past six years have prepared for this moment and ensured that all scientific and logistical preparations to control the Probe mission were completed.
Last week, the Hope Probe spacecraft was encapsulated within the payload fairing ahead of its liftoff. All testing and checks leading to the full launch and mission-readiness were carried out.
The Hope Probe cost around $ 200m (Dh734m), which is considered among the lowest in the world when compared with similar programmes. The Hope Probe will travel 493.5m km over seven months to reach Mars’ orbit in February 2021, coinciding with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations to mark the historic union of the Emirates. Hope Probe will have two years of science operations beginning May 2021, with a possibility of extending until 2025.
The Emirates Mars Mission seeks to establish the UAE’s entry to the space industry, advance the country’s capabilities in space science and engineering and develop young Emirati and Arab talents capable of contributing to global efforts in space exploration.