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UAE makes history: First Arab nation to reach Mars

Christian Fernsby |
UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan congratulated UAE citizens and residents and people of the wider region for the success of the UAE’s Hope Probe arrival to Mars in the first-ever Arab interplanetary mission that marks the Arab world’s entry in the global race of space exploration.

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The UAE made history on Tuesday evening, Feb.9, 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 on, 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 kept with the probe was kept to a minimum.

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 by 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 dedicating all kinds of 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.”

The Hope Probe is the first of three exploration missions to arrive to the Red Planet in February. China and the US are leading ambitious projects to Mars, scheduled to arrive on Feb. 10 and Feb. 18 respectively. Hope probe’s arrival to 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.

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 to Mars is the greatest celebration of the 50th anniversary of our country. It sets the beginning of the next 50 years with boundless ambitions and dreams.” He added, “Our next accomplishments will be even bigger and greater.”

Sheikh Mohammed noted that “Our biggest success is building national scientific expertise who will contribute to the international science community.”

He added, “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 by our Mars stop, and invite Arab youth to join the UAE’s science movement that marched at high speed.”

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed said: “The Hope Probe’s successful arrival to Mars is an Arab and Islamic achievement that was made possible by the relentless efforts of our youth. The mission marks our entry in the global race to space.”

He added that “The probe’s arrival to the Red Planet celebrates our journey of 50 years in the best image that fits the UAE and captures its true story to the world.”

“The human capital is the true wealth of our nation. Investing in our people forms the main pillar of all our development strategies and policies.”

Sheikh Mohamed stressed that “The Emirati youth will be the ones leading our development for the next 50 years with their acquired knowledge and skills. The Emirates Mars Mission contributed to building highly-qualified Emirati capabilities equipped to make more accomplishments in the space sector.”

His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, on the occasion of the success of the Hope Probe in reaching its orbit: “The ambition of the UAE has no limits and its blessed endeavours to serve humanity have been its preoccupation since the establishment of the Federation 50 years ago. Humans are always the focus of the UAE’s attention and the basis of its development, so the leaders realized early that the best investment is to invest in human minds and capabilities.

Sheikh Sultan added that the people of the Emirates proved that the bet of the founding leaders was sound.

Today, His Highness added, they are raising the flag of the UAE and the Arabs into space, and engraving the name of the UAE in the history of space as the first Arab country to reach the Red Planet. His Highness added, "We are proud that the Hope Probe has reached the orbit of Mars. This will be an important historical turning point in the march of global science and knowledge.

It will provide great services to humanity, scientists, researchers and science students all over the world." On this occasion, Sheikh Sultan added, “We extend our warmest congratulations to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, Ruler of Dubai, to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and to Their Highnesses, the members of the Supreme Council, the rulers of the Emirates, the people of the UAE, and the peoples of the Arab and Islamic nations.”

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said: “The Hope probe’s historic space journey to Mars is a significant Arab and Emirati achievement.”

He noted that “the Emirates Mars Mission drafts a new chapter in the UAE’s record of achievements in the space science sector and supports the efforts of our country to build a sustainable knowledge-based economy driven by advanced technologies.”

He concluded, “the UAE’s celebrations of the 50th anniversary has become associated with the arrival to Mars, which places a big responsibility on the next generation to make greater achievements in the next 50 years.

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 February 9 at 7:42pm UAE time.

The moment was marked by a dazzling laser show on the façade of the Burj Khalifa reviewing the journey of the Hope Probe, the stages of the project, and the efforts of the Emirati scientists who participated in the realisation of the country’s space dream

As hundreds of spectators watched the stunning display, the world’s media were joined by high-level government officials and the Emirati Hope Probe team for a special briefing on the mission’s progress.

During the event, Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, Chairperson of the UAE Space Agency and leader of the scientific team of the Emirates Mars Mission project, gave a detailed explanation in Arabic and English of all stages from ideation to launch and the seven-month journey to space.

Sarah Al Amiri’s briefing shed light on the Hope Probe’s journey and the UAE's long-held dream of reaching space.

A meeting was also held between the scientific team and several media professionals, offering in-depth detail on aspects of the project.


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