The United Arab Emirates have therefore just launched the very first interplanetary mission ever carried out in the Arab world, sending a spacecraft for a seven-month trip to Mars. The country had so far successfully launched three observation satellites, but had never passed Earth orbit before.
The probe named Al-Amal, or Hope in French, took off from the Japanese space center in Tanegashima, carried by an H-IIA rocket from the Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. A success applauded during takeoff by spectators of the Dubai Space Center, who had to wait after a first postponement of takeoff due to bad weather.
The Al-Amal probe is expected to reach the planet Mars by February 2021, the 50th anniversary of the creation of the United Arab Emirates. She will be responsible for studying the upper atmosphere of Marset to monitor climate change on the red planet for two years.
Emirates Mars Mission project director Omran Sharaf said the mission was “a message of hope for Arab youth. If a young nation like the UAE manages to reach Mars in less than 50 years, then there is much more we can do as a region ”. This launch will be closely followed by two other equally dedicated missions, one American and another Chinese. Japan has planned a mission for 2024.