Mitsubishi Heavy Successfully Launches UAE's Mars Probe

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, July 20 (Jiji Press)--Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. <7011> successfully launched the Arab world's first Mars probe aboard an H-2A rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, on Monday.

The H-2A Launch Vehicle No. 42 carrying the United Arab Emirates' Hope spacecraft lifted off from the space center of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency at 6:58 a.m. (9:58 p.m. Sunday GMT). The spacecraft successfully entered the planned orbit toward the red planet about an hour later.

Hope will reach Mars after traveling for about seven months and will be placed into orbit around the planet. Carrying a high-definition observation camera, an infrared spectrometer and an ultraviolet spectrometer, the probe will explore the Martian atmosphere and climate, including how the planet loses oxygen and hydrogen from its upper atmosphere.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries won the launch order for the Mars mission in 2016 from the UAE's Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, the fourth overseas client for the Japanese heavy machinery maker's H-2A rocket launch services. It was the second launch order from the UAE after the one for the Khalifasat observation satellite.

Two other Mars missions, one by the United States and the other by China, are currently planned, as Earth and Mars will get as close as about 62.07 million kilometers from each other on Oct. 6.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press