The UAE’s ambitious Mars mission, the Hope probe, is all set to enter the most crucial phase of its mission — the Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI), officials announced Wednesday.
The Hope probe is well on its way to enter the red planet’s orbit at 7.45pm UAE time on February 9, said Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and chair of the UAE Space Agency.
She explained the MOI is a complex manoeuvre and the most critical part of this mission, where Hope rapidly decelerates to enter a stable orbit with Mars.
The spacecraft is rotated to position it for a deceleration burn of 27 minutes’ duration, firing all six of its Delta-V thrusters, and slowing the spacecraft from its cruising speed of 121,000 km/h to one closer to 18,000 km/h to achieve MOI.
The stresses on the spacecraft of all engines firing at once are far beyond those at launch and it will be completed with a 22-minute two-way radio delay from Earth. This requires the spacecraft to be highly autonomous.
About 10 minutes after the MOI burn, the Hope probe will travel into the dark side of Mars.
Following the launch of Hope Probe in July 2020 from Tanegashima, Japan, the spacecraft travelled on a seven-month journey of over 493.5 million kilometres to reach the Mars orbit.
This will make the UAE the fifth player to reach Mars — after the USA, Soviet Union, China, the European Space Agency, and India.
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