UAE Mars mission launches from Japan

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 20, 2020

Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper, lit up hours before the launch with a symbolic 10-second countdown in anticipation of the launch that had already been delayed twice this month due to weather conditions.

"It was great to see everything going according to schedule today".

The rocket's upper stage released the Emirates Mars Mission, or Hope, spacecraft, almost an hour after liftoff.

With the launch of this orbiter, the UAE is striving to develop its scientific and technological capabilities while reducing its reliance on oil.

Hope is now set to reach Mars in February 2021, the year the UAE celebrates 50 years since its formation.

At Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai, Emirati men in their traditional white kandora robes and women in their black abayas watched transfixed as the rocket lifted off.

The UAE has set a goal to build a human colony on Mars by 2117.

"The Hope mission is only the beginning of the UAE's Mars ambitions, however", he added.

"Developing a spacecraft is not easy even if there is ample funding", said Junya Terazono, an astronomer at Aizu University.

"One of the requirements very early on was to send a mission that does more than capture an image declaring that the UAE reached Mars", said Sarah al-Amiri, UAE minister of state for advanced sciences and deputy project manager for Hope. "Our partners at LASP have been key to ensuring the success of the mission, delivering an extraordinary spacecraft in nearly half the time of conventional missions but also in providing the resources and knowledge we need to drive our own development of space systems engineering and planetary science", Sharaf said. Operation costs at Mars have yet to be divulged. In the approach, they will loop out outside of Earth's orbit and sync up with Mars' more distant orbit all around the sun.

NASA's longer-term goal is to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.

Resource-poor Japan has traditionally kept friendly ties with Middle Eastern countries. In recent years, Japan has increasingly stepped up trade and defence ties with the UAE, and now seeks to expand its space business.

The U.S.is sending over a auto or truck-sized 6-wheeled rover named Perseverance to acquire rock samples to be returned to Earth for assessment in about a decade. Six other spacecraft are exploring the earth from orbit: a few USA, two European and 1 from India. Liftoff is targeted for July 30.

Mars also has loomed large for a number of other countries, including China and the USA, which are set to launch their own missions to the Red Planet soon. The historic launch is set to be livestreamed across the globe.

Japan has its own Mars mission planned in 2024.

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