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The new colonial movement: According to one of the chief engineers for the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) unmanned mission to Mars, dubbed Hope, the spacecraft is on schedule for its 2020 launch by a Japanese rocket.
If all goes right, Hope will go into Martian orbit in 2021.
The quotes in the article from that chief engineer reveal somewhat the overall shallowness of UAE’s space effort at this point.
Omar Hussain, Lead Mission Design and Navigation Engineer for the Emirates Mars Mission, speaking at the Science Event 2019 held at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, said the team have had to overcome a number of challenges along the way.
“It is too early to talk about a specific date just yet but everything is on track and there have been no delays,” said the 29-year-old Emirati. “Speaking for myself, it has been challenging because I had to switch from planning for Earth-based projects to interplanetary missions.
“It took a lot of education to get to that point as I had never done a mission that goes beyond the Earth’s lower orbits. I had to study how I would get the spacecraft from Earth to Mars.”
The goal with their space program is to help diversify UAE’s economy. It might eventually do this, but for now, they I think are very dependent on the help they are getting from others. Japan is providing the rocket, and India the engineering expertise for the spacecraft.