Transfer to Japan using Antonov 124 heavy lifter completed in 83 hours
The UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center announced the safe transfer of the Mars Hope spacecraft to its launch site at Tanegashima Space Centre.
The transfer was conducted in an 83-hour operation brought forward from its scheduled May shipment date because of the travel and movement restrictions imposed by international efforts to contain the impact of Covid-19.
The Emirates Mars Mission, dubbed The Hope Probe is the first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab nation.
EMM Mission lead Omran Sharaf said: “We’re on track for our July launch now. Mitigation planning and early action, along with the support of our partners and the Japanese Government saved the day – the whole operation was basically a race against the clock and Covid-19 to ensure we managed to have the spacecraft at Tanegashima ready for its July/August launch window to Mars.”
The transfer operation saw an Antonov 124 heavy lifter carry the spacecraft in a specialised temperature and atmosphere-controlled container from Maktoum International Airport in The Emirates to Chubu Centrair International Airport at Nagoya, Japan.
The spacecraft was then loaded onto a sea freighter, carried to Tanegashima’s Shimama Seaport and then transferred by night to the launch site.
The spacecraft named as a symbol of Hope for all Arab youth, aims to build the first full picture of Mars’ climate throughout the Martian year.