The United Arab Emirates is welcoming its inaugural Mars mission. It has put in orbit around the planet a probe called Hope, making it only the fifth spaceflight asset to do so after the US, the Soviet Union, Europe, and India.
To be sure, without being caught by Mars' gravity, the spacecraft which left Earth seven months ago had to make a braking maneuver.
UAE scientists will also look forward to the study of the climate of the Earth.
Their spacecraft holds three instruments to observe, among other goals, how hydrogen and oxygen neutral atoms - traces of Mars' once-abundant water - leak into space.
In the process, Hope would attempt to carry back the planet's spectacular, high-resolution, full-disk pictures.
UAE Mars Probe Joins Martian Orbit
Tuesday was the mission's most crucial point.
The Associated Press said Hope had reached Mars at over 121,000 km/h (relative to the Sun) and had to perform a specific 27-minute burn on its braking engines to scrub off any of the momentum or face skipping off into even deeper space.
The maneuver, carried out by six probe thrusters, started at about 10:30 ET with approval obtained approximately 11 minutes later on Earth - the gap being the time it took for radio signals to reach the 190 million km range between Mars and Earth.
When it arrived, the burn's completion's formal declaration was quiet, and the cheering was reasonably restrained. Perhaps it was a comfort to learn about good telemetry after a nerve-shredding wait.
Omran Sharaf, the Hope mission's project director at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, said per Express.co.uk that Mars orbit insertion was the most critical and dangerous part of their journey to Mars, exposing the Hope probe to stresses and pressures it has never before faced.
"With this enormous milestone achieved, we are now preparing to transition to our science orbit and commence science data gathering," he added
The past few days have seen an immense passion for Hope and its purpose, with public landmarks, structures, and historical places around the federation all lit up in color.
The Burj Khalifa of Dubai, the highest human-made building on Earth, showed a tracker to the major moment on Tuesday.
About UAE's Hope Mission
Hope is regarded as a milestone for a tiny gulf nation that dared to believe seven years ago that sending the first Arab interplanetary space mission might encourage the next century.
Hope is now running through Mars in an original ellipse that reaches as close as 1,000 km from the Earth and goes out to about 50,000 km. This will be trimmed to a 55-hour, 22,000km-by-43,000km orbit during the next few weeks that is tilted by around 25 degrees to the equator.
This route is very different from previous satellites that tended to work closer to Mars to facilitate high-resolution surface imagery and communications with landed robots.
But it is from this elevated perch that Hope is aiming to conduct some novel studies. It can trace how energy travels from the very bottom to the very top across the atmosphere. This February, Hope is heading a surge of missions to Mars.
China's Tianwen-1 orbiter, who took the first photos of Mars from outer space, is expected to join the orbit on Wednesday. Like Hope, to be caught by the planet's gravity, it must execute a braking maneuver.
Tianwen-1 is bringing a rover, most likely in May, which will be deployed to the ground.
The Americans will land on Mars next week, on Thursday, February 18th, with another of their major rovers. The Perseverance rover is attacking a crater that once contained a massive lake. It can search for traces of life being fossilized.
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