An employee works at the control room of the Mars Mission at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai. File/AFP
Yamama Bedwan, Staff Reporter
Ninety minutes will pass slower than people imagine until we receive the first communication with the Hope Probe after its launch at the front of the “H-IIA” launcher at a speed of 34,000 kph towards Mars. The engineers will be in the operation room at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre waiting for the first contact with the Probe after the lift-off, on July 15, 2020 from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan
It is expected that the first signal sent by the Probe from space to Earth will be exactly at 2:31:27 after midnight according to UAE local time.
This will be after it separates from the rocket an hour after its launch and half an hour later, the first contact will be made. Such a phase is as important as the launch itself, as the “H-IIA” launcher weighs 289 tonnes, and is 53 metres long.
Technically, the first stage begins with the start of the launch process. The solid fuel impeller lifts-off the rocket after it separates from the launch pad.
Then, this part automatically separates after completing its mission, when the effect of gravity weakens and the rocket exits the Earth’s orbit.
The second part of the launcher is separated, and then the second stage begins until the Hope Probe reaches its right orbit around Mars, loaded on the third part of the launch rocket.
FINAL CHECKS: Since the arrival of the Probe at the launch station in Japan, the UAE team has continued to test all the spacecraft’s functions, including communication, software, navigation, remote control and driving systems, as well as power and probe propulsion systems.
The team has completed filling the fuel tank with about 800kg of hydrogen fuel, while the final tests and pre-launch tests that take place at the space station on Tanegashima Island in Japan are being conducted currently.
These include final checks of the spacecraft’s functions that feature 7 systems (power, communication, navigation, control, propulsion and driving, thermal system and software systems).
The UAE team, currently stationed at the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan, is led by Eng. Suhail Buti Al Dhafri Al Mheiri, EMM Deputy Project Manager and Spacecraft Lead at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. The other team members include Ahmad Al Yamahi, Mahmoud Al Awadi and Mohammed Al Ameri, who are mechanical systems engineers and responsible for mounting the Probe on to the launch vehicle.
The team also includes Issa Al Mheiri, who is responsible for charging the Probe batteries and spacecraft monitoring, and Youssef Al Shehhi, responsible for closing the multi-layer insulation of the fuel tank (MLI) and the Arming Plugs.
Omar Al Shehhi, who is the Head of Assembly & Integration Unit, is responsible for the Aliveness Test & spacecraft monitoring, with Khalifa Al Muhairi, who is responsible for monitoring and ensuring the safety of the Probe.
Heyam Alblooshi, Manufacturing, Assembly, Integration and Test (MAIT) and Quality Assurance Engineer, said: “The Hope Probe is more than its scientific goals; it’s a testament to the UAE’s readiness to tackle challenges and proves to be the ideal incubator for youth by inspiring them to follow their dreams.
The Hope Probe project was developed by a group of diligent and enthusiastic Emiratis who achieved it in record time, and our wise government has provided opportunities to excel in all fields. It represents an Emirati contribution to benefit all humanity.”
The team in Japan is currently working to place the “Probe of Hope” inside the launch capsule, to be followed by placing it on the launcher, and then the battery charging stage will be completed for the last time. The integrity of the terrain inside the capsule will be checked and monitored continuously in terms of software, ahead of the lift-off date on July 15
The Hope Probe will make a 7-month-long journey to the red planet covering 493,500,000km, according to Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
The Hope Probe embodies the culture of possibilities deeply rooted in the UAE’s approach, philosophy and journey of accelerating development since the foundation," says Sheikh Mohammed.
Achieving a critical milestone in its readiness for launch, the Emirates Mars Mission - Hope Probe spacecraft was encapsulated within the payload fairing ahead of its liftoff from the Tanegashima Space Centre (TNSC), in Japan on July 15, 2020.
The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), has detailed seven strategic objectives of the “Hope Probe,” including acquiring human knowledge, enhancing the UAE’s capacities and promoting international cooperation, in addition to collecting data and achieving the mission’s scientific outcomes.
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