7:58 pm EDT: The upper stage firing went as planned and the probe was successfully deployed. Communications with the vehicle have been established and the solar panels were deployed. The spacecraft’s next job is to use its attitude thrusters to orient itself so as to maximize power generation from the sun. The probe will reach Mars next February. After going into orbit, the spacecraft’s instruments will study the atmosphere and weather on the Red Planet.
The ground station at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre has received the first signal from the Hope Probe. The probe is now heading towards Mars.#HopeProbe #HopeMarsMission pic.twitter.com/4eEucqppcT
— MBR Space Centre (@MBRSpaceCentre) July 19, 2020
6:31 pm EDT: The launch has succeeded so far in reaching low earth orbit. The upper stage with the probe is now in a coast period before the stage will fire its engine for 4 minutes to send the Hope probe on its route to Mars. The stage will then separate from the probe soon after the engine boost ends. The firing should start at around 6:54 pm EDT (22:54 UTC).
5:35 pm EDT: Currently all systems are green for liftoff at 5:38 pm EDT.
Updates and background info:
- Live coverage: Emirates Mars Mission counting down to liftoff today from Japan – Spaceflight Now
- The United Arab Emirates will launch its 1st-ever Mars mission today. Here’s how to watch live. | Space.com
- United Arab Emirates ready for historic first interplanetary mission – NASASpaceFlight.com
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