The United Arab Emirates' first mission to Mars arrived at the red planet on Tuesday and successfully entered orbit on its first attempt.
The Hope Probe was moving towards Mars with such velocity that the spacecraft could have literally used Mars' gravity to slingshot it through deep space if it did not slow down properly upon arrival.
Nearly half of the fuel of the spacecraft was used to slow it down enough so that Mars' gravity could capture the spacecraft and go into orbit.
Before reaching Mars, by firing its thrusters for 30 minutes.
The team of the Hope Probe considered this stage of the arrival of the spacecraft to Mars, called the phase of Mars Orbit Insertion, as critical and risky as the launch of the spacecraft.
It entered an elliptical orbit around the planet after Hope was captured by the gravity of Mars. It will be as close as 621 miles above and as distant as 30,683 miles from the Martian surface. It will take 40 hours for Hope to do so.
According to David Brain, deputy principal investigator for MAVEN orbiter, or Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, at the University of Colorado Boulder's Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics, Hope will remain in this phase, referred to as the capture orbit, between February and mid-May during the transition phase of the mission.
The ground teams will send a command during this transition to the spacecraft to test the instruments and make observations of Mars to see if any of the instruments need tweaking.
Every 55 hours, Hope completes one scientific orbit of the planet. This orbit will provide the first global image of Mars' weather and atmospheric dynamics, to be shared with the scientific community through the data center of the mission.