UAE Postmarks Mars mission due to weather at Japan launch site

The UAE has postponed until July 17 the launch of its mission to Mars due to weather conditions at the launch site in Japan, the UAE government's communications office said on Tuesday. UAE Hope Probe was because of depart from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center at 12:51 am UAE time on Wednesday (02:21 am IST) for a seven-month trip to the red planet where it was to orbit and send data above the atmosphere.

UAE Postmarks Mars mission due to weather at Japan launch site
UAE Postmarks Mars mission in 2020
UAE Postmarks Mars mission due to weather at Japan launch site

The UAE Space Mission, the first interplanetary mission in the Arab world, will launch on Friday, July 17, 2020, at 12:43 am UAE time (July 16, 2020, at 8:43 pm GMT) from the Tanegashima Space Center, "the government's communications office tweeted.

There are currently eight active missions exploring Mars. Some orbit the planet and some land on its surface. China and the United States will send two more this year.

The UAE, an oil exporting nation, first announced plans for the 2014 mission to move away from hydrocarbons and develop a knowledge-based economy that is set to reach the planet by 2021.

With 9.4 million inhabitants, most of whom are foreign workers, the UAE lacks the scientific and industrial basis of the major space nations. A national space program was launched in 2017 to develop Emirati's expertise in space science.

Hazza al-Mansouri was the first emirate in space on a flight to the International Space Station in September 2019.

In the development and construction of the Hope Probe, Emiratis and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) in Dubai worked with US educational institutions with expertise in space science.

The UAE government has announced an ambitious target for a Mars settlement by 2117.