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Emirates Mars Mission (Hope)



The Emirates Mars Mission, or "Hope" (Al-Amal) Mars orbiter mission launched from Tanegashima Space Center at 21:58:14 UT on 19 July 2020 (July 20 1:58 a.m. UAE time, 6:58 a.m. Japan time). Built by the United Arab Emirates, the mission will orbit Mars and study the dynamics of the martian atmosphere and its interaction with outer space and the solar wind. The primary scientific objectives are to search for the connection between current martian weather and the ancient climate of Mars, study the loss mechanisms of Mars' atmosphere to space by tracking the behavior and escape of hydrogen and oxygen, investigate how the lower and upper levels of the martian atmosphere are connected, and create a global picture of how the martian atmosphere varies throughout the day and year.

Spacecraft and Subsystems

The Emirates Mars Mission has a total mass, including 800 kg of hydrazine fuel, of 1350 kg. It is a hexagonal prism, 2.37 m wide by 2.90 m tall, constructed of honeycomb aluminum panels with composite facesheets, with two solar panel wings affixed to the top platform, 7.9 meters from tip to tip. The solar panels provide 600 W at Mars, charging batteries to run the spacecraft. The spacecraft requirement is 477 W. Communications are X-band, through a 1.85 m diameter high-gain directional dish antenna mounted on the top deck of the spacecraft. It will allow communication rates of 1.6 Mbps at the minimum Earth-Mars distance to 250 kbps at its furthest point. There are also three low-gain antennas.

Propulsion is provided by six 120-N thrusters mounted on the bottom of the spacecraft, using monopropellant hydrazine and a GHe pressurant tank, with maneuvering and attitude control via eight 5-N reaction control system thrusters and a set of reaction wheels. Positional and orientation knowledge is provided by star trackers and coarse Sun sensors.

It carries three scientific instruments mounted on one side of the spacecraft. The Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI) is a high resolution multiband (visible and UV) camera, the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), a far-UV imaging spectrograph, and the Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer (EMIRS), and FTIR scanning spectrometer.

Mission Profile

The mission launched from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan at 21:58:14 UT on 19 July 2020 (July 20 1:58 a.m. UAE time, 6:58 a.m. Japan time) on a Mitsubishi H-IIA booster. After a 200 day cruise to Mars, on 9 February 2021 at about 15:41 UT (Earth-received time, or ERT - there is a 10 min., 40 sec. delay at this distance to Earth) Hope ignited its thrusters for a 27-minute orbital insertion burn. The burn required about 400 kg of hydrazine. At about 16:08 UT ERT Hope completed the burn and entered an elliptical, roughly 22000 x 44000 km orbit with a period of 55 hours and a 25 degree inclination. The periapse is near the equator. Two years of science operations are planned, beginning in May 2021, with a possibility of a two-year extension to do more science into 2025.

Image credit: Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC)

For more information, see the Emirates Mars Mission website at:

Alternate Names

  • 45918
  • Al-Amal
  • EmiratesMarsMission(Hope)
  • Hope

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2020-07-19
Launch Vehicle: H-2A
Launch Site: Tanegashima, Japan
Mass: 550 kg
Nominal Power: 600 W

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (United Arab Emirates)


  • Planetary Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



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