JAXA increases cooperation with UAE – new agreement already signed

JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, manufacturer of flagship Japanese rocket H-IIA, joined forces in seeking new market possibilities.

On 22 March 2016 President of JAXA, Dr. Naoki Okumura and H.E Dr. Khalifa Mohammed Thani Al-Romaithi, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the UAESA (United Arab Emirates Space Agency) signed agreement which covers extending cooperation in space research program. For UAESA, which was established in 2014, it is important step in way of development. Cooperation with JAXA, experienced organization, will surely give UAESA necessary feedback and support. JAXA already cooperate with UAESA during developing Dubaisat-2 communication satellite (launched in 2013 on atop of Dnepr rocket); thanks to new agreement in spite of joined participation in international scientific experiments, various research programs and experiments, UAESA will get possibility to perform experiments in Japanese Kibo research module on International Space Station.

In spite of agreement with JAXA, UAESA decided also to choose Japanese H-IIA rocket as launch vehicle for their first serious space mission - planned for 2020 launch of the "Hope" Mars Probe. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, manufacturer of H-IIA, is not novice in Arab market. In previous years MHI was already present on this market and possessed contract for launch service for Dubaisat-3 communication satellite; launch of this communication spacecraft, first satellite fully assembled in United Arab Emirates, is planned for 2017.

Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) is important and prestigious program developed and sponsored by UAESA. It bases on "Hope" Mars probe which will be launched in 2020 on atop of Japanese H-IIA rocket by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. "Hope" will reach Mars orbit in 2021 just in year of 50th anniversary of establishing United Arab Emirates. EMM program has several scientific objectives focused on gathering data on Mars weather, climate and atmosphere; scientists will try to explain reasons of losing atmosphere spotted on Mars create most accurate weather models and understand weather cycles on Red Planet.  Ultimate goal is to collect 1000 Gb of data and transfer it to ground control center in the UAE. Next, data will be analyzed and described by scientists in UAE and generally made wide available. Probe will fly for over 200 days and 60 000 000 km with average speed of 126000 km/h; next it will inject itself in Mars orbit with 22000 km x 44000 km and period at 55 h. It will spend there rest of its operational life, according to mission plan, it will be at least 1 year.

"Hope" Mars probe will be built as octagonal shaped aluminum space frame construction. With three symmetrical solar arrays it will have power consumption at 600 W level. Construction, based on honeycomb structure, will be wide for 2.37 m and tall for 2.9 m excluding arrays; planned mass of probe is 1500 kg with fuel. Propulsion will be 4 to 6 Delta V thrusters, each with 120 N of thrust and additional 12 small 5 N thrusters for maneuvering. Probe will be equipped in sun sensors and star trackers for navigation, 3 axis stabilization system will be based on reaction wheels. Downlink speed will be in range (depending on Mars to Earth distance) from 250 Kbps to 1.6 Mbps, probe will be equipped in high gain direction dish antenna with 1.5 m diameter along with smaller low gain antennas. Scientific payload will consist three devices:

  • EMUS - Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer - for atmosphere analysis and searching for traces of oxygen and hydrogen.
  • EXI - Emirates eXploration Imager - digital imaging device will provide high resolution color pictures
  • EMIRS - Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer - for analysis presence of forms of water ice and dust in Martian atmosphere