The UAE Space Agency, together with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center just reported that its Mars Hope spacecraft was transported to the launch facility at Tanegashima Space Centre.
The transport was carried on in an 83-hour project, with the transfer date brought forward from its previously set May shipment date due to the travel restrictions obliged by numerous countries in an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19. The Emirates Mars Mission, named The Hope Probe, is the first interplanetary exploration program carried out by an Arab nation.
“We’re on track for our July launch now,” said EMM Mission lead Omran Sharaf. “Mitigation planning and early action, along with the support of our partners and the Japanese Government, saved the day – the whole operation was basically a race against the clock and Covid-19 to ensure we managed to have the spacecraft at Tanegashima ready for its July or August launch window to Mars.”
Hope’s Aim is to Study the Climate on Mars
A team of engineers went to Tanegashima two weeks before the spacecraft was transported to the launch site in order to quarantine themselves before the shipment arrived. Another team of engineers that traveled with the probe is now in quarantine and set to prepare for the final tests and preparation of the vehicle to launch on a Mitsubishi MH2A rocket.
The transport project had an Antonov 124 heavy lifter transfer the spacecraft in a dedicated temperature and atmosphere-controlled chamber from Maktoum International Airport in The Emirates to Chubu Centrair International Airport at Nagoya, Japan. The probe was then transported to Tanegashima’s Shimama Seaport and shipped to the launch facility.
The Emirates Mars Mission was created to modify and accelerate the development of the UAE’s space department, education, and science community. Supervised by MBRSC and UAE Space Agency, the program will launch Mars Hope to the Red Planet‘s orbit in February 2021. Hope’s goal is to analyze the climate on the planet during the Martian year.