After holding their breaths for hours as the Hope probe approached the Martian orbit, Ground controllers at the UAE’s Space Centre in Dubai can finally relax as the spacecraft entered the orbit safely. This is United Arab Emirate’s first ever mission to Mars and so it was aptly named Amal (Arabic for hope).
At around 10:57 a.m. Eastern time on February 9, the spacecraft entered the “initial capture” orbit of the Red Planet after a 27-minute burn of its main thrusters. According to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, signals confirming the successful orbital insertion from the spacecraft arrived 11 minutes later.
The whole mission depended on a successful entry into the orbit as this is where chances of failure are the highest. As the spacecraft enters the planet’s orbit, its gravity should ideally pull the craft towards itself. It is not burned up completely and doesn’t slow down appropriately before the insertion, the clash could end a collapse.
“MOI (mars orbit insertion) was the most critical and dangerous part of our journey to Mars, exposing the Hope probe to stresses and pressures it has never before faced,” said Omran Sharaf, chief project director of Emirates Mars Mission. The unmanned probe will soon be collecting data about the Martian land, atmosphere, and explore the red planet.
The agency announced the safe arrival via this Tweet. As the controllers announced the safe arrival of Hope, the room cheered and clapped and they thanked Allah.
As the announcement was made, Twitter exploded with congratulatory messages for UAE from all over the world. Borders don’t matter when a mission like this takes place whose results would impact humanity at large.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the successful entry of Hope Probe into the Martian orbit:
To think that we, a fifty year old nation, would be the fifth to succeed in this endeavor makes me so proud. Congratulations UAE for this giant leap! — NLight (@Alchemist89a) February 9, 2021
Remember reading about muslims excelling at Algebra, Astronomy, Medicine? That Golden Age? Well.. buckle up cuz tomorrow at 7 p.m. #UAE becomes the first muslim country to attempt entering Mars orbit with its #HopeProbe, having travelled 495 mil kms at 121000 km/h. #Congrats_UAE pic.twitter.com/ErObs4rPkU— (@SyedSBukhari) February 8, 2021
Congratulations UAE on the successful journey so far, and I wish them the best on their mission to make orbit. It will mark a new era in space exploration and make UAE a tough competitor for future mars missions.️#UAEHopeProbeMarslive #uaetomars #ArabsToMars pic.twitter.com/UFFuWA8U6Z— Tanmay Bhadviya (@TanmayBhadviya) February 10, 2021
Congrats from France ! What an achievement ! Wish you more of them in the future !— JeanSébastien GALLOO (@jsgalloo) February 9, 2021
Congratulations UAE to be the fifth spacefaring entity to do so after the US, the Soviet Union, Europe, and India.— RatnaSagar (@RatnaSagarIndia) February 10, 2021
This is the fifth probe to be sent to Mars by any country or government entity. It has travelled for more than 7 months in the vast cosmos to reach our near planetary neighbour. There it will join probes from America and China that arrived recently for their country’s space missions.