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UAE Hope Probe completes first course correction to reach Mars’ orbit

UAE Hope Probe completes first course correction to reach Mars’ orbit

The Hope probe took off from the Tanegashima Space Centre on July 20 on a 493 million km journey to Mars

The Emirates Mars Mission has confirmed the completion of the Mars Hope probe’s first trajectory correction manoeuvre (TCM1) as it continues its seven-month journey to the red planet.

The manoeuvre marks the first firing of the probe’s six Delta-V thrusters, which were deployed for the first time in the course correction that will now see it directly targeting its Mars capture orbit.

“TCM1 was a major milestone for us, not only because it is the first time we have deployed the spacecraft’s Delta-V thrusters, but also because it defines our path to cruise Mars,” said EMM project director Omran Sharaf.

Following the launch from the Tanegashima Space Centre on July 20, the Mars Hope probe will make some seven correction manoeuvres in its 493 million kilometre journey to Mars.

Read: Video: UAE Hope Probe bound for Mars successfully launches from Japan

The performance of the launcher and spacecraft during the Launch and Early Operations Phase (LEOPs) has achieved an accurate trajectory.

“Hope has exceeded our expectations and is now on target to reach its Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI), requiring less adjustment to its course than we had originally planned.”

In order to meet planetary protection protocols, Mars and other planetary missions are typically launched on an initial flight path that is intended to ‘miss’ the mission’s planetary target until tests have confirmed the spacecraft is performing nominally, thereby mitigating the chance of an unplanned crash on the planetary surface and potential contamination with Earth-originating pathogens.

For this and flight planning reasons, trajectory control manoeuvres are performed during flight.

The insertion into the Mars orbit is scheduled to take place early in February 2021.

The Emirates Mars Mission is part of a long-term integrated effort to create economic opportunity around leadership in space sciences, research and exploration.

Hope’s mission is focused on atmospheric dynamics, and will explore the atmosphere of Mars globally while sampling both diurnal (daily) and seasonal timescales. Scientists based in over 200 universities and research institutes globally will have access to a holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day, through different seasons.

The Emirates Mars Mission was developed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and funded by the UAE Space Agency.

Also read: UAE Hope Probe: To Mars and beyond

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