UAE’s Hope mission is about to reach Mars and the stakes are high


Tomorrow, history and the hopes of the Arab world will hang on the endurance and independence of six engines charged with steering an SUV-sized spacecraft into orbit around Mars.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched that spacecraft, dubbed Hope, in July 2020, lofting its first interplanetary mission a little more than a decade after becoming a spacefaring nation at all. Now, after a smooth seven-month cruise, the UAE is preparing for Hope’s arrival at the Red Planet on Feb. 9. It’s a complex maneuver that requires the spacecraft to complete an intense engine burn with no support from the mission’s engineers, who are left anxiously awaiting bulletins that the solar system’s geometry delays by 10 minutes.



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