UAE Mars mission 'on track for 2020 launch'

Project director says construction of ‘Hope’ probe to commence next year
UAE Mars mission 'on track for 2020 launch'
By Staff writer
Tue 04 Oct 2016 01:02 PM

The UAE’s planned mission to Mars is in the “deep design phase” and on schedule to launch in 2020, the project director has been quoted as saying.

The emirates’ ‘Hope’ probe is set to leave Earth in 2020 to make its voyage to the Red Planet.

The probe will be the first to study changes in the Martian atmosphere throughout its daily and seasonal cycles, the UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre – which is overseeing the project – has claimed.

Omran Sharaf, director of the Programs Management Department at the centre, reportedly told 7Days newspaper that the project is in the advanced design phase and the team will begin building the engineering model next year.

Construction of the probe is targeted to complete in 2019 in preparation for the 2020 launch.

Sharaf said: “The team understands the challenges when it comes to Mars and it’s very risky. But for us to make progress we have to take this risk.

“Because we understand the difficulties, we are not starting from scratch, we are learning from previous missions and building on that.

“The main focus now is building the probe, which is scheduled to be ready by 2019. We will test the model and functionality to see if the designs work. Then we start manufacturing the flight model and that should be ready by the end of 2019.

“We are on schedule. It’s a national objective to reach Mars – and the team is working very hard.”

According to the newspaper, Sharaf said UAE scientists want discover more about Mars’ history. “Scientists believe that Mars used to be like Earth more than four billion years ago – but something went wrong and it became a dead planet,” he was quoted as saying.

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