Update: The UAE's Hope orbiter successfully entered orbit around Mars at 10:57 a.m. EST (1557 GMT) on Feb. 9. You read about the historic day in our wrap story here.
The first Emirati mission to Mars will attempt to slip into orbit around the Red Planet on Tuesday (Feb. 9) — here's how you can watch it live.
The live broadcast of Hope's arrival will be available on the official United Arab Emirates mission website, starting at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), according to a mission update on Twitter. The UAE is providing several feeds: one on Abu Dhabi TV, an English-language Dubai One broadcast (with commercials), an Arabic Dubai One version and a UAE space agency webcast without commentary. The arrival be carried live on Space.com here and on our homepage once available.
Hope will need to survive a 27-minute deceleration burn for the Mars Orbital Insertion maneuver, working autonomously because of the time delay to send commands from Earth.
"Right now, the team has prepared as well as they can possibly prepare to reach orbit around Mars," Sarah Al Amiri, chairperson of the UAE Space Agency, said during a news conference held virtually Jan. 28 hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, a leading partner on the mission.
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Hope will try to beat the odds in arriving at Mars, as about half of missions have failed since humans first headed to the Red Planet in the 1960s. "We knew the stakes entering into this; we knew it from the very first day we started working on this program," Al Amiri said. "It's not something that we've shied away from."
Hope will usher in a trio of countries hoping to make it to Mars in the coming weeks. China's Tianwen-1 mission (including a rover and orbiter) is supposed to arrive in orbit on Wednesday (Feb. 10). NASA's Perseverance rover — carrying a helicopter called Ingenuity — is targeting a Feb. 18 landing in Jezero Crater. All three missions launched back in July 2020, when Mars was in a favorable spot in its orbit relative to Earth, to send a spacecraft to the Red Planet using a minimum of fuel.
The Emirati mission is meant to inspire youth as the country attempts to move away from oil production activities and to embrace new industries. Several United States institutions collaborated on the research, and the UAE spent years preparing for the mission by talking with experienced Mars engineers.
But there is always that element of uncertainty as the moment of arrival approaches.
"I think the team has lots of nerves," Al Amiri told Space.com earlier this month. "But I was walking into the office the last two days or three days, everyone is smiling and you get greetings from random people. And everyone is so happy. Whenever they see a team member, they say, 'Good luck and our prayers are with you and you're making us all so proud.' "
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