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Thu 24 Mar 2016 09:07 AM

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UAE space centre orders rocket launcher from Japan

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ rocket to be used in ‘Hope’ mission to Mars in 2020

UAE space centre orders rocket launcher from Japan

The UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre has ordered a rocket launcher from Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in preparation for its ‘Hope’ mission to Mars in 2020.

The two parties announced the order of the H-IIA rocket in separate statements on Tuesday, although financial details were not disclosed.

The contract was signed by Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and Hisakazu Mizutani, executive vice-president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, according to WAM.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said in a statement: “With this partnership with the UAE to launch the EMM’s Hope spacecraft, Mitsubishi pledges to make full-fledged efforts so as not only to enhance the space industry in Japan but also to make various contributions to the UAE’s endeavours in space related activities.”

It said the H-IIA rocket is the most “current and reliable launcher in Japan”, with a 96.7 percent success rate, equating to 29 successful launches among 30 flights.

The UAE Space Agency is planning to launch its probe to Mars in 2020. Under the plans, the probe would enter the planet’s orbit in 2021 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the formation of the United Arab Emirates.

The agency also announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to strengthen co-operation in space activities exploration and use of outer space “for peaceful purposes”.

WAM quoted Al Rumaithi as saying that the MoU builds on the long-standing diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries.

The UAE has been ramping up efforts to become a world leader in space exploration, investing an estimated $5.5 billion in new research and initiatives to encourage children to take up careers in space technology.

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