Countdown for 495,000,000km journey officially begins.
Mark the date – July 15. That’s when UAE’s Hope Probe to Mars is set to take off.
The 495,000,000km journey will begin at 00:51:27 UAE time (05:51:27, Japan time) from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre, it was announced on Tuesday.
The scheduled launch date represents the opening of the launch window for the Emirates Mars Mission, which extends to August 3, 2020.
The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ (MHI H2A) platform was chosen for this mission as a result of its proven expertise and reputation in space technology around the world, and its high success rates in launching spacecraft and satellites globally. The UAE, for its part, has previously collaborated with MHI to successfully launch the Khalifa Sat satellite.
The countdown to the launch begins after the probe’s successful transfer from the UAE to Japan, in a journey that spanned more than 83 hours by land, air and sea.
Since its successful arrival in Japan, the Hope Probe has undergone detailed processing operations for the launch. This process completed over 50 working days, entails filling the fuel tank with about 700kg of hydrogen fuel and ensuring there are no leaks. The process also requires testing the communication and control devices, moving the probe to the launch pad, installing the probe on the rocket that will carry it to space, and ensuring the probe batteries are fully charged.
A team of Emirati nationals is leading the operation and supervising every aspect of the probe’s preparation for its launch.
83 hours from Dubai to Japan
The journey of moving the Hope Probe from Dubai to the launch site on Tanegashima Island in Japan spanned more than 83 hours and underwent three major stages.
The first phase involved the preparation and transportation of the probe from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center to Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport, which spanned 16 hours. The second stage saw the probe’s 11-hour transfer from Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai to Nagoya Airport in Japan and included loading the probe and its supporting equipment into the giant ‘Antonov 12’ plane – the largest cargo plane in the world.
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