Dubai, United Arab Emirate, Feb 9 (efe-epa).- The United Arab Emirates’ Hope space probe entered orbit around Mars on Tuesday to begin a four-year mission to study the Red Planet’s climate and atmosphere.
“To the people of the UAE and Arab and Islamic nations, we announce the success of the UAE reaching Mars,” project manager Omran Sharaf said in a televised, live-streamed event from Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai.
The oil-rich UAE becomes the first Arab country to put a craft in Martian orbit, and the fifth in the world after the United States, the former Soviet Union, China and India.
Emiratis and others were able to follow on television or via the web as the Hope spacecraft burned part of its fuel to reduce forward speed from 121,000 km/h (75,500 mph) to 18,000 km/h (11,200 mph) during the orbit insertion.
The UAE Space Agency had said that the probe had a 50-50 chance to achieve orbit after traveling 480 million km (298 million mi) over seven months.
“Congratulations on Mars and history,” UAE Vice President Mohamed bin Rashid told the project team after Hope successfully entered orbit.
“Over the coming two months, Hope will perform instrumentation and system tests and will also transition from its capture orbit of between 1,000 km and 49,380 km from Mars to its science orbit,” the mission said in a statement.
Hope is the first of three space expeditions expected to reach Mars this month, ahead of China’s Tianwen 1 and the US Mars rover Perseverance. EFE oad-ppa/ta-dr