The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Hope Mars Orbiter has successfully imaged Mars for the first time using its star tracker camera, proving both that the spacecraft is on course and that its pointing capabilities are working as well .
“The Hope probe is officially 100 million km [60 million miles] into its journey to the Red Planet,” Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister of the UAE, wrote on Twitter on Monday (Aug. 24). “Mars, as demonstrated in the image captured by the probe’s star tracker, is ahead of us, leaving Saturn and Jupiter behind. The Hope probe is expected to arrive to Mars in February 2021.”
The star tracker is designed to keep Hope on course, telling the spacecraft precisely where it is. In addition, the probe carries a more traditional camera for use once it arrives at Mars and begins its science work.
Arrival in Mars orbit will take place in February ’21.
The new colonial movement: The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Mars Hope orbiter has successfully completed its first course correction on its journey to Mars.
The success of this maneuver is a big deal, as it appears it was controlled from the UAE’s control center by its engineers. Up to now this project has mostly been a joint U.S/UAE project, launched by Japan, with U.S. universities doing the heavy lifting while training UAE personnel. Now the UAE engineers are in charge, and so they have to get it right.
They have another half dozen course corrections scheduled before arrival in February 2021, when the spacecraft will have its big maneuver, entering Martian orbit.
Today there were many many news stories touting the successful launch of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) first interplanetary probe, Hope, (al-Amal in Arabic), successfully launched yesterday from Japan. This story at collectSpace is typical, describing the mission in detail and noting its overall goals not only to study the Martian atmosphere but to inspire the young people in the UAE to pursue futures in the fields of science and engineering.
What most of these reports gloss over is how little of Hope was really built by the UAE. The UAE paid the bills, but during design and construction almost everything was done by American universities as part of their education programs, though arranged so that it was UAE’s students and engineers who were getting the education.
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The competition heats up: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday unveiled its plans for its first unmanned mission to Mars, dubbed al-Amal (“Hope”).
They hope to launch by 2020.
Forgive me if I am skeptical. Unlike India, which just succeeded in doing this, the UAE has no history or background in space exploration. India has been building satellites for decades. It has its own rockets. It had already launched a successful mission to the Moon. The UAE has done none of this yet. They are starting from ground zero.
Then again, one has to start somewhere.
This UAE effort illustrates again what I call the new colonial movement, where nations across the globe are increasingly pushing to participate in the exploration of space, because they realize that if they don’t, they will get left behind by their neighbors. Whether or not UAE succeeds, their decision to enter the competition proves the competition exists, and such a competition can only add energy to the effort to colonize the solar system.