EMIRATIS brimmed with joy and pride as the UAE made history on Monday by successfully launching its spacecraft “Al Amal” towards Mars from a Japanese launch centre, marking the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission. Al Amal, or Hope Probe, weighing 1.3 tonnes was launched from the H-2A rocket from Japan’s remote Tanegashima spaceport at 1.58 am local time. The ground control room in Dubai erupted with joy after the successful lift off.
Hundreds of scientists, space enthusiasts and the UAE’s leadership cheered as the upper stage containing the probe separated from the launch rocket, the protective shields and its solar panels were deployed with clockwork precision. The solar panels will charge the batteries of the spacecraft for its 495,000,000 kms journey to Mars. Within a couple of hours, it was confirmed that the ground segment at Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai has received and communicated the first signals with the Hope Probe.
UAE president Sheikh Khalifa has praised the talented team who had masterminded the landmark Mars mission. “With pleasure and great pride, we have followed up on the announcement of the successful launch of the Hope Probe, the idea of which was conceived and developed inside our national research and political institutions,” he said.