First UAE space mission to Mars launches from Japan

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The first Arab space mission to Mars blasted off Monday aboard a rocket from Japan, after weather delays set back the launch of the probe dubbed “Hope.”
A live feed of the launch showed the rocket carrying the unmanned probe, known as “Al-Amal” in Arabic, lifting off from the Tanegashima Space Centre in southern Japan.
“We have launched the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 42 (H-IIA F42) carrying aboard the Emirates Mars Mission’s (EMM) HOPE spacecraft… at 6:58:14 (JST) (2158GMT),” rocket manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said in a statement shortly after the launch.
Five minutes after launch, the rocket carrying the probe was on course, carrying out the first separation of its flight.
The Emirati project is one of three racing to Mars, including Tianwen-1 from China and Mars 2020 from the United States, taking advantage of a period when the Earth and Mars are nearest.
In October, Mars will be a comparatively short 38.6 million miles (62.07 million kilometres) from Earth, according to NASA.
“Hope” is expected to reach Mars’s orbit by February 2021, marking the 50th anniversary of the unification of the UAE, an alliance of seven emirates.

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