UAE's Mars probe positioned on rocket ahead of lift-off
The Hope Probe is set for liftoff on July 15.
The UAE's Hope Probe has been encapsulated within the payload fairing ahead of its lift-off from the Tanegashima Space Centre (TNSC) in Japan on July 15. The capsule has been positioned securely on to the rocket that will take it to space.
The encapsulated probe was transferred to another building where the rocket (first and the second stage) and the launch pad are located. The mounting of the spacecraft on to the rocket involved a thorough monitoring of the interface points. Subsequently, the multi-layer insulation (MLI) and the arming plugs were firmly sealed.
About an hour after the launch, the probe will separate from the rocket. It will launch its solar panels and begin the seven-month journey towards the Red Planet using a propulsion system.
With the critical milestone achieved, testing and checks leading to the full launch and mission-readiness are currently being carried out. This will be followed by joint operations with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to trickle-charge the spacecraft and set it for takeoff.
Before the probe was placed inside the capsule, it was covered with thermal sheets to protect it against dynamic temperature, pressure variations and environment during its cruise. The encapsulation process was overseen by a team of on-ground Emirati engineers in Japan, along with their Japanese counterparts.
The Hope Probe is set for liftoff at 00:51:27am UAE time. The scheduled launch date represents the opening of the launch window for the mission, which extends to August 13.
Omran Sharaf, Emirates Mars Mission Project Manager, said: "The encapsulation and mounting of the capsule on to the rocket are one of the key milestones of the mission. It is an intricate process, which encompasses technical evaluations, system verifications and validation and examining every single aspect of the spacecraft."
Mohammed Wali, deputy project manager of the launch team, said "each and every stage and step" - from encapsulation to getting it mounted on the rocket - was critical. "The encapsulation is a proud and emotional moment for the Hope Probe project team. After six years of hard work, our probe is one step closer to launch."
The Hope Probe is expected to enter the Mars orbit in February 2021, coinciding with the UAE's Golden Jubilee celebrations to mark the historic union of the Emirates.
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