The UAE Space Agency (UAESA) reported that the United Arab Emirates' Al Amal probe (which means "Hope") successfully reached Mars orbit on the first attempt. This is the first mission to the Red Planet among Arab countries and the fifth in the world.
The automatic interplanetary Hope space mission was launched on top of a Japanese H-IIA rocket from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center on July 20, 2020. On November 8, the probe completed the trajectory correction maneuvers, and on February 9, 2021, it had to independently carry out the maneuver to enter the orbit around Mars.
At around 11:14 AM ET on Tuesday, the agency reported that the probe had successfully entered Mars orbit – it sent a signal to Earth. The space agency said that the launch of the probe into orbit is an important achievement in the nation's history.
The probe should now begin a two-year scientific program to collect data on the climate of Mars, to observe hydrogen and oxygen, and the interaction between the upper and lower layers of the planet's gas envelope.
The UAE Space Agency noted that this mission will allow scientists to create a complete picture of the climate of the Red Planet and help answer key questions about global changes in the atmosphere of Mars.
For the United Arab Emirates, this is the first space mission to Mars to study its weather. China followed to explore the planet's surface with its Tianwen 1 mission, and NASA was the third to launch a Martian rover called Perseverance with the Mars 2020 mission to look for signs of past life.
All three missions were scheduled for summer 2020 as the Earth and Mars were in alignment on the same side of the sun, which happens every 26 months.