The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has successfully launched its first rocket carrying the “Hope Probe” bound for Mars on Sunday 6:58 a.m. local time from Japan.

This is the first successful mission to set out from the United Arab Emirates. The launch was actually due to take place twice previously, however unexpected weather events took over, delaying the process slightly. The UAE has launched satellites before in 2009 and 2013, but the Hope Probe is the UAE’s most ambitious step in the space sector to date.

The “Al Amal” probe, as it is known in Arabic, is set to reach Mars in the early months of 2021 and will orbit for an estimated 687 days, unlike other projects which are due to land on the Red Planet. Hope is expected to start transmitting data back to Earth by mid-late 2021.

A picture taken on July 19, 2020, shows a screen broadcasting the launch of the "Hope" Mars probe at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai. - The probe is one of three racing to the Red Planet, with Chinese and US rockets also taking advantage of the Earth and Mars being unusually close: a mere hop of 55 million kilometres (34 million miles). "Hope" -- Al-Amal in Arabic -- is expected to start orbiting Mars by February 2021, marking the 50th anniversary of the unification of the UAE. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

“The mission is an important milestone for the UAE region” stated Yousuf Hamad Alshaibani, director of Mohammed Bin Rashi Space Centre, at the Japan post-launch.

The objective for this mission is to obtain a clear image of weather dynamics and to take measurements to test various different theories, with Dubai also hiring a great number of architects to create a “Science City” built on the images and findings the mission will obtain.

“The data gathered by the probe will add a new dimension to the human knowledge” stated Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum via social media. “This is our latest contribution to the world” he later added.

Along with the scientific motivations, the UAE wishes to use the event as a source of inspiration for its youth.

Dubai also showed support by lighting the tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, hours before the event was due to take place, with the iconic 10 second countdown projected on the impressive building as the launch approached.

“Hope” is one of three projects aiming for Mars along with Tiwawen- 1 from China and Mars 2020 from the USA.

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