The United Arab Emirates’ automatic interplanetary station Hope orbited Mars on Tuesday, six months after its launch, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center said on Twitter.
The UAE became the fifth country in the world to reach Mars.
The probe entered the orbit of the red planet as planned at 7:42 p.m. local time, after which it began the braking process to enter the gravitational capture zone. The probe flew nearly 500 million kilometers from Earth to Mars. It was launched on July 20 on a Japanese H-IIA launch vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.
“The Hope probe safely reached Mars orbit today. The UAE is celebrating a historic achievement today,” the center noted.
The entry of the spacecraft into Mars orbit was watched by leaders of the state – the prime minister and ruler of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid and the UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zeid. They congratulated all Emiratis on the achievement.
The orbiter, which appeared on the orbit of Mars at an altitude of 40,000 kilometers, is designed to study the climate and lower atmosphere of the “red planet.
Completely designed by Arab scientists and engineers, the probe reached Mars in 2021, when the UAE will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Emirati authorities are calling it the first Arab mission to Mars and have coined a motto inscribed inside the probe: “Nothing is impossible.”
The UAE has planned an extensive space exploration program for the coming years, which began with the sending of the first Emirati astronaut, Hazzaa al-Mansouri, to the ISS in 2019. They are currently selecting new candidates for the Emirati space squadron and are planning to establish a settlement on Mars.