Hope Probe Team Receives 2023 Laurels for Team Achievement Award From the International Academy of Astronautics

02 October 2023

During the 74th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2023)

During the 74th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2023) which was held in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) presented the Emirates Mars Mission Hope Probe team with the 2023 Laurels for Team Achievement Award. The award was presented in appreciation of their efforts in providing the global scientific community with significant data about Mars that contributed to drawing a complete map of its atmosphere, in addition to revealing unprecedented observations of the smaller Mars moon "Deimos".

"The acknowledgment from the IAA highlights our extraordinary international collaboration, pulling together a tight-knit team from around the world to work together with a single goal and not only achieve that goal, but create a truly transformational project that impacts an entire nation’s progress in the fields of space science, research and technological innovation," said UAE Space Agency Chair Sarah Al Amiri.

The Emirates Mars Mission, the first interplanetary mission by an Arab nation, was developed by an international team made up of members from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, UAE, the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder, Arizona State University and the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. This team, together with scientists from the US, Europe and the UAE was managed as a single, integrated team to deliver an interplanetary mission with a revolutionary approach to mission design, management and execution.

Presented annually by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), the Laurels for Team Achievement Award is the Academy’s highest team distinction. The Hope Probe team representing the UAE, including Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, Chairperson of the UAE Space Agency, and His Excellency Omran Sharaf, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Advanced Sciences and Technology, from the project's leadership team, were honored by the Academy. As for the scientific team, IAA recognition includes Hessa Al Matroushi, Hoor Al Mazmi, Nora Al Maheiri, Mariam Al Shamsi, Khaled Badri, Eman Al Tunaiji, Fatima Lootah, and Mariam Yousef. From the engineering team, the Academy recognized the following engineers: Mohsen Al Awadhi, Suhail Al Dhafri, Omran Al Hammad, Hamad Al Hazami, Khulood Al Harmoudi, Mahmoud Al Nasser, Zakarrya Al Shamsi, Ahmed Al Shehhi, Omar Al Shehhi, Ali Al Suwaidi, Mohammed Khouri, Ayesha Sharafi, and Mohammed Wali.

The award was established in 2001 to recognize extraordinary performance and achievement by a team of scientists, engineers, and managers in the field of Astronautics to foster its peaceful and international use. Previous recipients include the Ariane 5 Team Europe for the James Webb Space Telescope launch and the Parker Solar Probe team.

“It was an honor to nominate EMM for this prestigious award,” said LASP Director Daniel Baker. “The international team of 450 outstanding engineers, scientists, instrument specialists, and project managers who drove the development and operation of the mission did so at a remarkable pace and with significant innovation. The results of this unprecedented knowledge partnership have greatly advanced our understanding of the Martian atmosphere. This program has also made the team much more capable for future space exploration objectives.”

EMM and the Hope Probe are the culmination of a knowledge transfer and development effort started in 2006, which has seen Emirati engineers working with partners around the world to develop the UAE’s spacecraft design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Hope is a fully autonomous spacecraft, carrying three instruments to measure Mars’ atmosphere. Weighing some 1,350 kg, and approximately the size of a small SUV, the spacecraft was designed and developed by MBRSC engineers working with academic partners, including LASP at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Arizona State University and the University of California, Berkeley.

The Emirates Mars Mission is studying the Martian atmosphere and the relationship between the upper layer and lower regions and, for the first time, gives the international science community full access to a holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day, through different seasons. Science data releases have been taking place every three months, with the information made freely accessible globally to researchers and enthusiasts,

The Hope Probe’s historic arrival at the Red Planet coincided with a year of celebrations to mark the UAE’s Golden Jubilee in 2021.