Tuesday 10 November 2020
The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), the first interplanetary mission undertaken by an Arab nation, has announced the successful completion of TCM3 – its third and last major trajectory correction maneuver. Mars Hope’s arrival and Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) will mean the United Arab Emirates will become the fifth nation to reach the Red Planet.
With 189 million kilometers remaining, the Hope Probe will reach its planned orbit around Mars on 9 February 2021. It has already covered 60 percent of its journey, equivalent to 290 million kilometers, in 111 days since its launch on July 20.
Since the Hope Probe’s successful launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Center on July 20, the team has spent more than 15,000 working hours closely monitoring its path to Mars.
Having already completed the launch and early operations phases, the probe is currently in the third of six stages of its journey. The Early Orbit Phase, began at the end of the Launch phase and lasted about 45 days.
Throughout that time, the probe was monitored 24 hours a day by the operation and spacecraft teams to ensure that the spacecraft and all its components and systems were in optimal running condition.
The probe is currently in its Cruise phase. During this time, the operations team at the ground station at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai periodically monitors the state of the probe, as it is in contact with the spacecraft two to three times a week, to check the subsystems health, calibrate the interments, and understand the performance of the probe. This phase also includes monitoring the probe's flight path by conducting a series of trajectory correction maneuvers (TCMs).
The project team conducted two successful maneuvers previously, in addition to a more recent one, which is the third in the probe’s trip to Mars. Currently the team is back to the 24-hour contact schedule to prepare for the next phase.