The United Arab Emirates is set to launch its first space mission to Mars today. The schedule is set for 5:58 PM EST. The spacecraft that will go on the mission is named “Hope,” and it is just a matter of hours before the countdown. The mission is also viewed as pride for UAE’s 50th anniversary of founding in December next year.
The main objective of the mission is to provide a global snapshot of the weather on our neighboring planet. The average travel time to reach Mars from Earth and back with the current spacecraft technology is 21 months, and to ensure that the mission is accomplished by the time of the anniversary, the spacecraft will be launched today.Every two years, when Mars and Earth align themselves in a specific position, the planetary scientists have this small window to send a spacecraft towards the Red Planet. The next seven months will be Hope traveling to the Red Planet, which will give enough time for it to orbit around the planet and make its way back to its home by the time anniversary is around.
Hope is launching on top of a Japanese H-IIA rocket from Japan Tanegashima Space Centre. In Tanegashima, the rocket is set to launch early in the morning on July 20th, 6:58 AM. H-IIA rocket will deploy Hope one hour after its launch and set its course towards Mars, where it will be powered by Sun using its solar panels. Before setting it out in deep space, the UAE space team will take a hold of the vehicle to stabilize it.