The new colonial movement: The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Mars orbiter, dubbed Hope, has arrived at its launch site in Japan in preparation for its July launch on a Mitsubishi H-2A rocket.
Previously I had thought the probe had been built in the UAE with help from engineers from India, but that was not the case. Instead, the probe was mostly built by Americans, in America.
Carrying three science instruments, the Hope mission will measure conditions in the Martian atmosphere from a unique semi-synchronous orbit high above the Red Planet. The mission is the first from the Arab world to travel to another planet.
About the size of Mini Cooper, the spacecraft was assembled at LASP’s facilities in Colorado [Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics], with the help of Emirati engineers and scientists. The probe was delivered to Dubai in February for additional testing, and then was supposed to be transported to Japan in early May.
But the coronavirus pandemic forced officials to shuffle the schedule, and mission managers decided to send the probe to Japan early. [emphasis mine]
In other words, this probe might be financed by the UAE, and it might have UAE engineers and scientists involved, but essentially the UAE paid LASP to build it for them.
I am not criticizing the UAE for this effort, but to call it an Arab mission is somewhat dishonest. This is a joint American-UAE probe. If it results in producing qualified engineers in the UAE capability of building their own future planetary probe, fine. They are not doing it now, however.
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