The United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined the space race in spectacular style. With the help of a Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Launch Services operated H2A-202 (SRB-A3) rocket. Its Hope space probe (Misabar Al’amal) was launched to Mars at 2158 GMT on 19 July 2020 from Tanegashima, Japan. After an initial parking orbit in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), the upper stage injected the spacecraft into a heliocentric transfer orbit.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) in Dubai was in charge of the project. The spacecraft was actually constructed by Colorado University’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU-LASP). The spacecraft’s mission is to use its camera and IR and UV spectrometers to study the Martian atmosphere. The HOPE probe has a dry mass of 550 kg and carries 800 kg of hydrazine. Its six 120 Newton main thrusters are scheduled to perform a Mars orbit insertion burn in February 2021.
Jonathan McDowell contributed to this story.