The UAE launched on Monday the Hope Probe in a landmark mission to Mars, the first in the Arab world.
The rocket carrying the probe took off from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center, marking the beginning of an almost 500 million kilometer journey into space.
The UAE Mars mission's deputy project manager and Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, Sarah al-Amiri, told Dubai TV from the launch site: “This is the future of the UAE.”
“Hope belongs to millions of young people in this region who long for progress, inspiration and opportunity; it's a direct challenge to those who continue to suppress these aspirations,” tweeted Hend al-Otaiba, director of strategic communications at the UAE's foreign ministry.
“Hope” belongs to millions of young people in this region who long for progress, inspiration & opportunity; it's a direct challenge to those who continue to suppress these aspirations. The mission stands as proof that horizons are limited only by our imagination#HopeMarsMission pic.twitter.com/6hfSDPXtpS— هند مانع العتيبة Hend Al Otaiba (@hend_mana) July 19, 2020
The Hope Probe will be “the first probe to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere and its layers when it reaches the red planet’s orbit in 2021," according to Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center.
The Ground Control in Dubai successfully received a first transmission from the Hope Probe at 3:10 a.m. local time, a little over one hour from when it blasted off from the space center, official WAM news agency reported.
“The team of the Ground Control Station has analyzed the data to ensure that the solar panels are facing the sun properly,” WAM added.
The probe is expected to reach Mars in the first quarter of 2021, the year the UAE celebrates 50 years since its unification.
The Emirates Mars Mission has cost $200 million, and Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammad al-Gergawi said the cost is considered “among the lowest in the world when compared with similar programs.”
The UAE’s Mars Mission’s duration is estimated to last for one Martian year (approximately two Earth years, or 687 days), according to the UAE Space Agency.
The UAE first announced plans for this mission in 2014 and launched a National Space Program in 2017.