A robot probe owned by the UAE is set to jump into orbit on Mars on Tuesday after it launched from Earth last year. For Dubai mission leaders, this is a nerve-wracking highlight in the UAE’s first mission to deep space. If successful, the Hope probe will assess the Martian atmosphere. The Emirati cabinet hopes the mission will also inspire a new science and technology sector as it seeks to wean the Gulf state’s economy from oil dependence.
The Hope probe launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan last July as Earth and Mars orbited their orbits around the Sun. Now, after more than 300 million miles, Hope is performing a complex and fully autonomous maneuver called Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) at 10:30 p.m. The Dubai mission check doesn’t know if the MOI only started at 10:42 due to 22 minutes of round-trip communication through NASA’s Deep Space Network. Manual, real-time control is impossible, so Hope has to perform these orbital dances alone.
The MOI requires Hope to slow the speed of 75,000 km / h to 11,000 mph in order to ascend the gravity of Mars. He will hit the brakes by shooting all six Delta-V engines for 27 minutes. With this, the spacecraft should be placed on an “receiving orbit” around the Red Planet. Five minutes later, mission managers lose contact with Hope when it flies on the other side of Mars and shuts down radio signals for about 15 minutes.
“They tried hard enough, we thought of every scenario that could go wrong or bad and that was programmed in the commanding order,” said Sarah al-Amiri, deputy project manager for Emirates Mars Mission The edge.
Hope’s mission team of roughly 450 has designed and tested the Hope spacecraft over the past six years in preparation for this mission. If all goes well, the Hope mission will make the UAE the fifth spacecraft to reach Mars after the programs of the United States, the former Soviet Union, the European Space Agency and India.
Over the next two months, Hope will perform a few more maneuvers to jump into orbit around Mars. This will be key to achieving its main goal: to scan the Martian atmosphere and create a global snapshot of the planet’s weather patterns. Hope orbits Mars every 55 hours and takes a full picture every nine days.
Mission of the Emirates Mars Your Twitter account will tweet updates during the mission. The UAE Space Agency will also conduct a live broadcast of mission control in Dubai at 10:00 a.m. ET before the maneuver begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. Then tune in to see if the UAE completes its first interplanetary mission.
Updated February 9, 9:13 ET ET: This post has been updated with a new start time for UAE live streaming.