New UAE Hope Probe launch date set for July 20
Dubai - The historic Mars launch has been delayed twice by troublesome weather conditions at the launch site.
The UAE's mission to Mars is set to launch on July 20, 2020, at 1:58 am UAE time, the UAE government announced on Friday.
The Dubai Media office tweeted: The Emirates Space Agency and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center announced that it has been decided that the launch of the Emirates Mars mission will be on July 20, 2020, at exactly 1:58 am after midnight Emirates time." (Complete coverage of UAE's mission to Mars)
The historic Mars launch has been delayed three times following adverse weather conditions and officials hope to see clear skies next week for the launch to proceed without a hitch.
The new liftoff, scheduled on July 20, 2020, meets the launch window that extends until August 3, 2020 that has been set after careful study of the earth and Mars orbits to ensure the Hope probe arrives in the shortest period of time consuming the least levels of energy.
However, the UAE's Mars mission is subject for another delay if weather conditions remained unstable within the three-week launch window. The delay of Mars space missions is commonly caused by unsuitable weather conditions and technical issues.
Taking to Twitter, Hope Mars Mission said that the revised liftoff date "may change" depending on the weather conditions on Tanegashima island.
Hinting that a further delay is possible if the weather remains unstable, the Hope Mars Mission on Friday tweeted : "Note that this date may change depending on weather conditions on Tanegashima Island, the launch center for the missile that carries the probe of hope in Japan."
The orbiter named Amal, or Hope, is the Arab world's first interplanetary mission. The launch, initially scheduled for Wednesday from the Tanegashima Space Center, has been reset for 6:58am on Monday (2158 GMT Sunday), said Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the provider of the H-IIA rocket.
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Mitsubishi, however, said there is a slight chance of further postponement depending on the weather. The company has set a launch window through Aug. 13
Heavy rain has drenched large areas of Japan for more than a week, triggering deadly mudslides and floods on the main southern island of Kyushu.
Read on: UAE's Mars probe team lists 3 reasons for liftoff delay
Hope is 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 the oil-dependent economy seeking a future in space.
Hope carries three instruments to study the upper atmosphere and monitor climate change and is scheduled to circle the red planet for at least two years. The UAE says it will provide a complete view of the Martian atmosphere during different seasons for the first time.
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Two other Mars missions are planned in coming days by the US and China. Japan has its own Martian moon mission planned in 2024.
(With inputs from AP)