The United Arab Emirates’ first-ever mission to Mars has launched, beginning a seven-month journey to the Red Planet in a historic mission. The rocket blasted off successfully from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center for a seven-month journey to the red planet.
The United Arab Emirates launched its first mission to Mars on Monday – the Arab world’s first – as it strives to develop its scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil.
The Hope Probe blasted off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center at 6:58am Japanese time on Monday (21:58 GMT on Sunday) for a seven-month journey to the red planet, where it will orbit and send back data about the atmosphere.
The mission was initially due to launch on July 14, but was delayed by bad weather.
In the early morning hours of July 20 on Tanegashima, a small island just off the southern coast of Kyushu, Japan, a 174-foot rocket roared to life and lifted a spacecraft on the first leg of a 306-million-mile journey to Mars.
The spacecraft itself, however, is not Japanese. Called al-Amal, or “Hope,” it was designed and managed by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in the United Arab Emirates. Safely separated now from the Japanese rocket, the probe will fire its own thrusters to leave Earth orbit for Mars in about 28 days, arriving in February 2021 to complete the first interplanetary voyage initiated by an Arab country.