Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 6 August 2020

UAE IN SPACE

UAE space official sends heartfelt letter to Mars mission team after launch delays

The letter of support highlighted that the mission will “inevitably take-off”

UAE’s Mars Hope spacecraft is “standing tall” and the lift-off moment is “coming soon”, a letter from a space official said.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, the chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), wrote the letter to the UAE Mars mission team after the much-anticipated launch was postponed twice because of unstable weather conditions at the launch site in Japan’s Tanegashima island.

A team of engineers from the space centre worked on the mission for six years and on a tight budget of Dh735 million.

“The Hope probe is standing tall and is waiting for the countdown,” Mr Al Mansoori wrote in the letter, which was shared on social media by Emirati astronaut Maj Hazza Al Mansouri on Wednesday.

“It’s ready to go, carrying with it the name of your dear homeland… I know that delaying the launch of the probe was not the news you were waiting for. We are all waiting for that historic moment, however, the delay ensures flight safety.

“The moment is inevitably coming. You worked with sincerity and dedication, and God will not disappoint you. The Hope probe will go to its destination and will write history.”

The first launch attempt on July 15 was scrubbed and the July 17 date was also pushed back because of unstable weather in Tanegashima. A new date is expected to be announced by Thursday morning.

The UAE has a narrow launch window until August 3 to launch the spacecraft. If missed, the team will have to wait until 2022 for the next launch opportunity.

The spacecraft is inside the payload fairing and is mounted on top of the H-IIA rocket, a launcher provided by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The Hope probe aims to study the climate of the Red Planet and will send data back to Earth, so scientists and researchers are able to analyse the relationship between the upper and lower atmosphere.

Updated: July 15, 2020 10:26 PM

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