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Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Ambitious Mission from the United Arab Emirates to Fly Closely by Seven Main-belt Asteroids.

 United Arab Emirates Announces New Mission to the Asteroid Belt,     in Sky and Telescope By David Dickerson,  May 31 2023  

An ambitious new mission from the United Arab Emirates would fly closely and speedily by seven main-belt asteroids.

MBR mission  An artist's concept of MBR passing an asteroid. UAE Space Agency

The United Arab Emirates announced earlier this week its formal plans to send a mission to the asteroid belt in a grand tour past seven targets.

The working name for the mission is the Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt (MBR). That acronym echoes that of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (MBR).

“This mission is a follow up and a follow-on to the Mars mission, where it was the first mission to Mars from the region,” says project director Mohsen Al Awadhi (UAE Space Agency). “We’re creating the same thing with this mission. That is, the first mission ever to explore these seven asteroids specifically, and the first of its kind when it's looked at from the grand tour aspect.”


The mission has a three-week long launch window that opens on March 3, 2028. No launch carrier or launch site has been announced yet. For gravitational assists to the asteroid belt, the mission will first make multiple flybys past Venus, Earth, and Mars, starting with Venus in July 2028, before arriving at the first asteroid target, 10253 Westerwald, in February 2030.

UAE Space Agency

The mission will target the following asteroids: 10253 Westerwald, 623 Chimaera, 13294 Rockox, and three asteroids without official names (yet): 2000 VA28 (88055), 1998 RC76 (23871), and 1999 SG6 (59980). The UAE probe will be traveling at 20,500 miles per hour (9 km per second) and will pass just 150 kilometers (93 miles) from each target.

The climax of the mission will occur in 2034, when the spacecraft will dispatch a lander in an attempt to touchdown on the 54-kilometer-wide asteroid 269 Justitia.  ...'

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