There is a great deal of excitement in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) these days as the country is poised to become involved in space exploration. In July 2020, the UAE will launch its Hope spacecraft on a mission to Mars. The spacecraft is scheduled to reach the Red Planet in 2021, just in time to mark the 50th anniversary of UAE’s founding. The outlook is very bright for the mission’s success because Earth and Mars will be at their closest point during the launch window. The mission will mark a significant turning point in the UAE’s development.
The country’s development of space technology is just one sign of its new diversified economic growth. The mission to Mars will enrich Emirati capabilities and increase human knowledge of distant planets and space exploration. It’s also part of the UAE’s drive to increase their intellectual and technical capabilities in the aerospace industry. The country’s production of space technology is designed to enhance its development plans. Meeting the epic challenge of traveling to Mars will inspire and motivate people throughout the country to move forward with technological advances in many other areas.
The UAE Mars mission team includes:
- EMM deputy project manager and science lead Sarah Amiri
- EMM deputy project manager for spacecraft development Suhail Al Mheiri
- EMM launch segment lead Mohammad Abdulrahim
- EMM deputy project manager for mission operations Zakariyya Al Shamsi, Adnan Al Rais
- EMM Deputy Project Manager Ground Station
- EMM deputy project manager for strategic planning Ibrahim Hamza
- Khulood Al Harmoodi, EMM deputy project manager for Product Assurance and Logistics
- Nour Al Teneiji EMM Liaison Officer and Omran Sharaf EMM Project Manager
The final agreements were recently signed, marking the first major event in a 7-year journey giving the UAE a presence in international space exploration activities. The journey will be made in an unmanned space probe named Hope. It is a compact, hexagonal-section spacecraft made out of aluminum. The probe will be a honeycomb structure that’s stiff yet lightweight and its surface will be covered with a very strong composite face sheet. The spacecraft is about the size and weight of a small car. It measures 2.3 meters wide and is 2.90 meters tall. When filled with fuel the probe will have an overall weight of 1,500 kilograms. The groundbreaking undertaking is the first mission to Mars by an Arab country.