ABU DHABI, UAE: The United Arab Emirates’ first mission to Mars has entered the red planet’s orbit after a seven-month, 494 million kilometres (307 million miles) journey, allowing it to start sending data about the Martian atmosphere and climate.
Officials at mission control broke into applause on Tuesday, visibly relieved after a tense half-hour as Amal, the Arabic word for hope, carried out a “burn” to slow itself enough to be pulled in by the Martian gravity.
“Contact with #HopeProbe has been established again. The Mars Orbit Insertion is now complete,” the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) said.
“To the people of the UAE, to the Arab and Muslim nations, we announce the successful arrival to Mars orbit. Praise be to God,” said Omran Sharaf, the mission’s project manager.
Amal had to perform a series of turns and engine firings to manoeuvre into orbit, reducing its speed to 18,000kmph (11,200mph) from more than 121,000kmph (75,000mph).
Tuesday’s announcement makes UAE’s space agency the fifth to reach Mars.
Probes launched by China and NASA just after the UAE’s lift-off in July last year are also set to reach the planet this month.
The Emirates Mars Mission, which has cost approximately $200 million, launched the Hope Probe from a Japanese space centre.
The Mars programme is part of the UAE’s efforts to develop its scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil. Its space agency has a plan for a Mars settlement by 2117.
It aims to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time, studying daily and seasonal changes.
On Wednesday, Amal apart from Tianjin, joins Amal and launches a robotic cart to the surface of the planet. For five weeks, NASA’s US space agency and its other automatic Perseverance explorer set out to be there.
According to the Prime Minister of the Emir of Ayat Muhammad bin Rada Maktma, there was a 50% increase in the fact that a probe was being launched on the orbit of Mars.
For the spacecraft to get into a roundabout, it had to split about half of the 800 kilograms of fuel and slow down enough not to miss it, according to Reuters.
This is the farthest city in the universe that Arabs have ever managed to get in history … Our goal is to give Arabs hope that we are able to compete with the rest of the world, said the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.