The UAE Makes History as the First Arab Nation to Reach Mars
UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan congratulated UAE citizens and residents and people of the wider region for the successful arrival of the UAE’s Hope Probe’s at Mars in the first-ever Arab interplanetary mission that marks the Arab world’s entry into the global space exploration race.
The UAE made history on Tuesday evening, 9 February as the first Arab nation, and the fifth in the world, to reach Mars after the Hope Probe successfully entered the Red Planet’s orbit at 7:42pm.
The probe overcame the most critical part of its mission, the Mars Orbital Insertion (MOI) that involved reversing and firing its six Delta V thrusters to rapidly reduce its speed from 121,000 km/h to 18,000 km/h. During the 27-minute critical phase, the contact with the probe was kept to a minimum.
Hailing the historic breakthrough, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said, “This historic achievement would not have been possible without the persistence and determination to implement the idea that emerged at the end of 2013 from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who followed it up closely until its success.”
He also praised the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in extending all the support needed to make the dream come true.
“Thanks to both leaders and the team of scientists and engineers behind the project for proving to the world that the UAE is capable of achieving the impossible.”
HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed hailed the space project, which was the outcome of solid institutional collaboration and a bold vision that aimed to serve mankind and the international science community.
The Hope Probe is the first of three exploration missions to arrive at the Red Planet in February. China and the US are leading ambitious projects to Mars, scheduled to arrive on 10 February and Feb. 18 respectively.
The Hope Probe’s arrival at Mars, after travelling 493 million kilometres in a seven-month journey in space, marks the UAE’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Now that it has entered the Martian orbit, the Probe will transition to the science phase– transmitting its first image of Mars back to Earth within just one week.
The Rulers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi celebrated the project as a great success for the UAE, the wider Arab region and the global scientific community following six years of technical and logistical efforts to complete the project.
They hailed the team of engineers and scientists behind the project who made it a reality after relentless efforts.
Hailing the success of the mission, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said: “The Hope Probe’s historic arrival at Mars is the greatest celebration of the 50th anniversary of our country.
"It sets the tone for the beginning of the next 50-year phase with boundless ambitions and dreams.” He added, “Our next accomplishments will be even bigger and greater.
“Our biggest success is in building a pool of national scientific expertise that will contribute to the international science community.
“We dedicate our Mars achievement to the people of the UAE and the rest of the Arab world. Our success proves that Arabs are capable of reviving the region’s legacy and status in the scientific sphere.
“We mark our country’s 50th anniversary with our Mars stop and invite Arab youth to join the UAE’s science movement that has marched at high speed.”
Beamed live around the world by international television stations, the Probe successfully entered the orbit of the second-smallest planet in the Solar System on 9 February at 7:42pm UAE time.
On the Hope Probe’s first day in Mars, the team restored communication with the Probe to ensure its systems remained intact after the dangerous phase it had just passed.
For the next 3-4 weeks, daily contact will be scheduled between the Probe and the team back on Earth, enabling a quick turnaround of command sequence uploads and telemetry receipt. The probe will capture its first picture of Mars in the first week of its arrival.