The UAE’s Mars-bound Hope mission has successfully launched from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center aboard a Mitsubishi H-2A rocket. About an hour after liftoff, the Hope Probe separated from the rocket to rapturous applause from controllers and engineers at the UAE Space Agency. It’s designed to jump-start the nation’s science sector and marks the Arab world’s first ever mission to Mars. “This is the future of the UAE,” said science lead and minister of advanced sciences, Sarah Al Amiri.
The Hope Probe is expected to reach Mars orbit in February 2021 during the 50th anniversary of UAE unification. It will not land on the planet but will instead orbit it for an entire Martian year, or 687 days. The aim of the $200 million mission is to get a more detailed picture of weather dynamics on the red planet ahead of future manned Mars missions.