It will be launched in 2020, and will only arrive at its destination the following year, the first space mission of the United Arab Emirates. This is what was announced by the Prime Minister and the Emir of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. The unmanned Arab satellite will be called “Al Amal”, which in Arabic means ‘hope’, and will be launched by a rocket that will give it the driving-force to travel the 60 million miles to get to Mars.
The mission is entirely ‘made in Italy’, the project will engage about 150 engineers, technicians and local specialists who have been trained in the best universities of the world over the years. In addition to arriving on Mars, one of the goals of the Arab leaders is to use the mission as a catalyst to encourage the training of a new generation of scientists and engineers from the UAE and as a launch-pad for the fields of science and space.
Furthermore, the Emirates have inaugurated a joint programme of cooperation with France. Most likely the pitcher of Al Amal will be French and this newborn cooperation has already yielded to our French cousins commissions worth 700 million Euros.
The UAE government has already allocated about 4 and a half billion Euros for the programme that will be completed in a record time of 6 years. Al Amal will have the size and weight of a small car. The satellite will orbit Mars until 2023, with the possibility of extending the mission until 2025 and is expected will send to planet earth approximately 1000 GB data.