Tuesday 26 January 2021

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Hope Probe to reach Mars on February 9, 2021

DUBAI, November 9, 2020

The UAE’s Hope Probe to planet Mars will arrive to Mars on Feb. 9, 2021 at 7:42pm UAE time, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai said in a tweet.

The Hope Probe has completed its last trajectory correction manoeuvre after travelling 290 million km into space in 111 days, he added.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid affirmed that the UAE’s arrival at Mars as the fifth country in the world is a historic achievement and places great responsibility on future generations to continue the march of progress.

On this occasion, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “The Hope Probe mission is the culmination of a 50-year journey, which began in 1971. It also marks the beginning of another 50 years that will bring about major achievements based in the fields of science, knowledge and innovation. Our nation does not have the word impossible in its dictionary and our leadership will not settle for anything less than the first place.”

The announcement marks Emirates Mars Mission’s (EMM) successful completion of TCM3 – its third and last major trajectory correction manoeuvre. Mars Hope’s arrival and Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) will mean the UAE will become the fifth nation to reach the Red planet.

With 189 million kilometres remaining, the Hope Probe will reach its planned orbit around Mars on February 9, 2021. It has already covered 60 percent of its journey, equivalent to 290 million kilometres in 111 days since its launch on July 20.

Since the Hope Probe’s successful launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Center on July 20, the team has spent more than 15,000 working hours closely monitoring its path to Mars.

Having already completed the launch and early operations phases, the Probe is currently in the third of six stages of its journey. The Early Orbit Phase began at the end of the Launch phase and lasted about 45 days. Throughout that time, the Probe was monitored 24 hours a day by the operation and spacecraft teams to ensure that the spacecraft and all its components and systems were in optimal running condition.

The probe is currently in its Cruise phase. During this time, the operations team at the ground station at MBRSC in Dubai periodically monitors the state of the probe, as it is in contact with the spacecraft two to three times a week, to check the subsystems health, calibrate the interments, and understand the performance of the probe.

This phase also includes monitoring the probe's flight path by conducting a series of trajectory correction manoeuvres (TCMs). The project team conducted two successful manoeuvres previously, in addition to a more recent one, which is the third in the probe’s trip to Mars. Currently the team is back to the 24-hour contact schedule to prepare for the next phase.

Following the Cruise phase, the Probe will enter the Mission Orbit Insertion (MOI) phase. At this time, the team will focus on safely entering a capture orbit around Mars. This process requires slowing down the Probe, and nearly 50 percent of the fuel will be used to do so. The fuel burn will last approximately 30 minutes and reduce the speed of the spacecraft from over 121,000 km/h to approximately 18,000 km/h. Due to the radio signal lag from Mars - it takes radio signals 13 to 26 minutes to travel from Hope around Mars to the ground network on Earth - the team will not be able to intervene and communicate with the Probe, resulting in the mission being 100 percent autonomous.

The Transition to Science phase begins at the end of MOI and will last until the observatory is in an acceptable science orbit and the commissioning is complete, about 75 days. The spacecraft’s capture orbit will take it as close as 1,000 km above Mars’ surface (a 40-hour elliptical orbit), and ranges from 1,000 kilometres to 49,380 kilometres.

This is the period where the first image of Mars will be taken and transmitted back to the Mission Operation Center (MOC). During this phase, preparations for primary science operations take place and daily contacts are scheduled, enabling a quick turn-around of command sequence uploads and telemetry receipt.

The Probe will remain in scientific orbit for a full Martian year (687 Earth days) and continue to take pictures of Mars and send them to the earth station.

Upon its arrival to mars, the Hope Probe will travel in a 20,000km – 43,000 km elliptical science orbit and will complete one orbit of the planet every 55 hours. As a result of its highly innovative orbit, Hope Probe will take the first ever planet-wide picture of Mars’ atmospheric dynamics and weather.

The Hope Probe carries three tools to measure and study Martian atmosphere, and weighs about 1,350 kg - the size of a small car. It was designed and built by MBRSC engineers in cooperation with global knowledge transfer partners. – TradeArabia News Service


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