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Sun 19 Jul 2020 01:27 PM

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UAE's Hope Probe arrives at launch site ahead of Monday blast-off

Mission to Mars has previously been delayed due to bad weather in southern Japan

UAE's Hope Probe arrives at launch site ahead of Monday blast-off

The UAE’s Mars Hope Probe has arrived at the launch site and is currently being installed on the launch pad ahead of the scheduled blast off in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

With two previous planned launches scuppered by the weather on Tanegashima Island in southern Japan, the mission was given the green light following a weather assessment on Sunday morning.

A statement from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the provider of the rocket, confirmed that the weather is favourable for launch.

"The scheduled launch time is July 20, 2020 6:58:14 JST. #H2AF42,” Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said. This will be at 1.58am UAE time, on Monday. 

Subsequent to that announcement, the Dubai Media Office posted on Twitter that the rocket has been rolled out to its launch pad.

Conditions will continue to be monitored and the final ‘Go’ for launch will be given an hour before lift-off.

The original launch date was scheduled for last week on Wednesday, but postponed until Friday and further delayed by the weather.

The UAE is set to be the first Arab nation to send a probe to Mars.

The probe is one of three racing to the Red Planet, with Chinese and US rockets also taking advantage of the Earth and Mars being unusually close: a mere hop of 55 million kilometres (34 million miles).

"Hope" - "Al-Amal" in Arabic - is expected to start orbiting Mars by February 2021, marking the 50th anniversary of the unification of the UAE.

Once there, it will loop the planet for a whole Martian year of 687 Earth days.

The goal is to provide a comprehensive image of weather dynamics in the Red Planet's atmosphere.

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