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UAE mission to Mars on course to arrive in February 2021

The Guardian logo The Guardian 26/11/2020 Stuart Clark

The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) is on course to arrive at the Red Planet on 9 February. A third and final major trajectory correction manoeuvre (TCM) was completed on 10 November. An additional minor TCM in December will tee it up for a Mars orbit insertion manoeuvre next year. Without the need for further major course corrections, the mission team can begin early science observations of Mars and interplanetary space.

The EMM spacecraft, also known as Hope, carries three instruments primarily designed to study the tenuous Martian atmosphere. With its arrival, the United Arab Emirates will become the fifth region, after the US, Russia, Europe and India, to reach Mars. Launched in July 2020, it is one of three spacecraft currently en route to the red planet. China’s Tianwen orbiter and rover, and the US rover Perseverance were also launched at the same time.

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EMM is the first interplanetary mission by an Arab nation, and was developed by a team led from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), Dubai. It was funded by the UAE government through the UAE Space Agency.


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