UAE announces first space mission by Arab nation

by WorldTribune Staff, June 9, 2020

The United Arab Emirates plans to launch a mission to Mars in July.

An artist’s depiction of UAE’s Hope Mars Mission orbiting Mars. / Courtesy of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center

The UAE’s unmanned probe, named Hope, has been billed as the first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab state.

The Hope Mars Mission will start its journey on July 14 and is expected to reach Mars by February, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the UAE.

“This mission is not just about the UAE it’s about the region, it’s about the Arab issue,” Omran Sharaf, the mission’s project manager at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), said.

“The region is going through tough times and we do need good news and we need the youth in the region to really start looking inwards, building their own nations and putting differences aside to co-exist with people with different faiths and backgrounds and work together,” Sharaf said.

The Israel Foreign Ministry’s “Israel in the Gulf” Twitter account wrote in Arabic: “We wish the UAE the best of luck on the launch of this scientific mission, and hope this step will contribute towards deeper cooperation between all countries in the region.”

“In another sign of warming ties between Israel and Gulf Arab nations, the Jewish state Tuesday congratulated the UAE on its bid to launch the first Arab space probe,” Israel’s Arutz Sheva reported.

Except for Jordan and Egypt, Arab countries have no official relations with Israel.

But Arab states in the Gulf like the UAE have seen warming ties with Israel recently amid shared concerns over Iran.

The UAE made its first publicly announced flight to Israel last month when its Etihad Airways sent medical aid for the Palestinian Authority to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

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