The United Arab Emirates launched its first mission to Mars on Monday as it strives to develop its scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil.
Just over an hour after launch, the probe deployed solar panels to power its systems and established radio communication with the mission on earth.
The Emirates Mars Mission has cost $200 million, according to Minister for Advanced Sciences Sarah Amiri. It aims to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time, studying daily and seasonal changes.
The UAE first announced plans for the mission in 2014 and launched a National Space Programme in 2017 to develop local expertise. Its population of 9.4 million, most of whom are foreign workers, lacks the scientific and industrial base of the big spacefaring nations.
To develop and build the Hope Probe, Emiratis and Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) worked with U.S. educational institutions.
The MBRSC space centre in Dubai will oversee the spacecraft during its 494 million km (307 milion mile) journey at an average speed of 121,000 km per hour.