Japan rocket carrying UAE Mars probe ready for Monday launch

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Japan rocket carrying UAE Mars probe ready for Monday launch

By MARI YAMAGUCHI39 minutes ago

1 of 8Omran Sharaf, the project director for the Emirates’ Hope space probe to Mars, speaks on his mobile phone at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, July 19, 2020. A Japanese H-IIA rocket carrying a United Arab Emirates Mars spacecraft has been placed on the launch pad for Monday’s scheduled liftoff for the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission, officials said Sunday. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese H-IIA rocket carrying a United Arab Emirates Mars spacecraft has been placed on the launch pad for Monday’s scheduled liftoff for the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission, officials said Sunday.

The launch of the orbiter — named “Amal” in Arabic, or “Hope” — from Tanegashima Space Center on a small southern Japanese island was initially scheduled for this past Wednesday, but was delayed due to bad weather in the region.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the provider of the H-IIA rocket, announced Sunday that the launch would proceed at 6:58 a.m. Monday (2158 GMT Sunday). The preparation has been completed, and the rocket is now on the launch pad, Mitsubishi said.ADVERTISEMENT

Hope is expected to reach Mars in February 2021, the year the UAE celebrates 50 years since its formation. A successful Hope mission would be a major step for this OPEC-member nation home to the skyscraper-studded tourist destination of Dubai. The Emirates have set ambitious plans for space, including pledging to build the first inhabitable human settlement on Mars by 2117.

While raising eyebrows with that goal, the UAE has successfully built a space program with local talent working out of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai. The Hope

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