The United Arab Emirates launched its first space mission with the Hope Probe blasting off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center for a seven-month journey to Mars.
The Hope Probe blasted off from Tanegashima Space Center, Japan at 1:58 a.m. UAE time (2158 GMT Sunday) for a seven-month journey to the red planet, where it will orbit and send back data about the atmosphere
The mission was to be launched on July 14 but was delayed because of bad weather conditions. Hope is set to reach Mars in February 2021, the year the UAE celebrates 50 years since the country’s formation. Eight missions are already exploring Mars.
Emirates Mars Mission project director Omran Sharaf was reported to have told the media that the probe has started to send signals.
. With the first mission, the United Arab Emirates strives to develop its scientific and technology capabilities and move away from its reliance on oil. The mars mission comes a year after the UAE sent its first astronaut, Hazzaa Ali Almansoori to space. He spent over a week at the International Space Station.
The space craft was developed jointly by scientists from the UAE, University of Colorado Boulder, University of California, Berkeley and Arizona State University. The spacecraft was assembled at Boulder and transported to Japan as the two countries looked to expand their ties with the rich and politically stable Middle Eastern nation. The Hope mission cost around 200 million dollars.
Having the size of a car, Hope carries three instruments to study the upper atmosphere and monitor climate change while circling the red planet for at least two years.