UAE’s first interplanetary mission to Mars has been launched successfully using the Japanese H-IIA rocket from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at 6:58 AM on Monday, July 20th, 2020.
MHI H-IIA F42 flight proceeded nominally and approximately 56 minutes 57 seconds after launch, as planned, the payload (Hope Spacecraft) separated from the launch vehicle for its journey to the Red Planet.
The United Arab Emirates has aimed to join the elite group of space-faring nations by launching its first spacecraft to Mars and the timing is perfect as the small middle-east nation will be celebrating its 50th anniversary of the foundation of UAE next year.
UAE’s dream mission known as the Emirates Mars Mission started when UAE Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum asked the nation’s top space engineers to pull off the ambitious space mission by 2021 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of UAE in December 2021.
The Emirates Mars Mission will follow up after it will be launched using a Japanese rocket and carry the Hop spacecraft that the nation aims to be “Mars’ first weather satellite” since it will monitor the weather throughout the day in as many locations as possible on Mars.
The total budget allocated by the UAE government for the project was just $200 million, and the prime minister wanted the nation’s engineers to build the spacecraft themselves — not buy it from someone else.
This mission will be the start of the period when Mars is the closest to Earth the event that happens once only every two years and all Mars-bound space missions launch in this period. If anything goes unplanned they have to wait for another two years to launch for the Red Planet.
Following this successful launch, China also plans to launch an orbiter, rover, and lander to the Red Planet on July 23rd, and on July 30th, NASA is set to launch its next rover to Mars, called Perseverance.