Hope Probe makes Mars Orbit

Space Coast, FL – The Hope Probe (Al Amal) by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has successfully been inserted to Mars orbit. The 204 day 289+ million mile (480+M km) journey may now start it’s science!

H-IIA rocket lifts off the Mars Hope Probe
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA rocket lifts off with Mars Hope Probe | image: UAE Space Agency

The UAE Hope Probe Launch

Lifting off on top a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA rocket the Hope Probe began it’s space trip to Mars, on July 20, 2020 at 0158 (UAE time). Today, the UAE Space Agency successfully inserted the probe into Mars orbit. The UAE is the second country to successfully make Mars orbit on their first try. India being the first and only other to do so.

Al Amal (Hope) on Earth prior to launch
UAE Probe (Al Amal) on Earth | image: UAE Space Agency

Hope Probe Mars Orbit

During the Mars Orbit Insertion phase, the Ground and Space Segments are kept to a minimum. This is while the team focuses on safely entering a capture orbit at Mars. Nearly half of the fuel is spent to slow the Hope Probe down enough to capture Mars’ orbit. The fuel burn (firing the Delta V thrusters) will last approximately 30 mins. This is to reduce the speed of the spacecraft from over 121,000 km/h to approximately 18,000 km/h.

EMM Hope Probe journey from lift off to Mars Orbit
Infographic of the journey and Mars Orbit | image: UAE Space Agency

The Science

The purpose of this mission is to study the Mars atmosphere from a science orbit of 20,000km (12,430mi) periapsis and 43,000km (26,720mi) apoapsis. This is with an orbital period of 55 hours and orbital inclination of 25°. No other Mars spacecraft has had such an orbit; most orbit at a single local time that allows the atmosphere to be measured at only one time of day. Hope Probe carries a suite of three instruments which work simultaneously to observe key constituents within the atmosphere.

Instruments on Board Al Amal

EMIRS

Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS)

Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer

  • Studies the lower atmosphere of the red planet in the infrared band
  • Measures the global distribution of dust, ice clouds, water vapours, and temperature profiles
  • Provides the linkages from the lower to the upper atmosphere in conjunction with EMUS and EXI observations

EXI

EMIRATES EXPLORATION IMAGER (EXI)

EMIRATES EXPLORATION IMAGER

  • Studies the lower atmosphere of the red planet in visible and ultraviolet bands.
  • Captures high-resolution images of Mars
  • Measures the optical depth of water ice in the atmosphere
  • Measures the column abundance of ozone
  • Provides visible images of Mars during atmosphere

EMUS

EMUS Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer

EMIRATES MARS ULTRAVIOLET SPECTROMETER

  • Detects ultraviolet wavelength
  • Determines the abundance and variability of carbon monoxide and oxygen in the thermosphere on sub-seasonal timescales
  • Calculates the three-dimensional structure and variability of oxygen and hydrogen in the exosphere
  • Measures the relative changes in the thermosphere
Mars Hope Probe Instruments
Infographic on how the instruments on the Mars Hope Probe will map Mars’ atmosphere | image: UAE Space Agency

The two year expected operation begins today from Mars orbit. The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) “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. It will help answer key questions about the global Martian atmosphere and the loss of hydrogen and oxygen gases into space over the span of one Martian year.

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