The UAE has postponed the launch of its Mars probe due to "weather conditions" at the launch site in Japan, with the mission now scheduled for Friday. A rocket carrying the unmanned spacecraft, called Amal (Hope in Arabic) was due to launch at 05:51am local time tomorrow (20:51 GMT tonight) at the Tanegashima Space Center.
The UAE's space mission, the Arab world's first interplanetary mission, will launch on Friday July 17, 2020 at 12:43am UAE time (July 16, 2020 at 8:43pm GMT) from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.
— UAEGov (@uaegov) July 14, 2020
The Hope Probe – the Arab world's first interplanetary mission, is one of three destined to the Red Planet expected to launch this year, with China and US due to follow soon. However, Amal will not try to land on the surface of Mars, rather will stay in orbit above it to study the planet's atmosphere and climate change. There are currently eight active missions exploring Mars.
READ: Life on Mars?
The spacecraft was built in collaboration with the University of Colorado Boulder and should reach Mars' orbit by February 2021, which would coincide with the 50th anniversary of the UAE's unification.
Hazza Al-Mansouri who became the first Emirati astronaut to reach space last year said the Mars mission will inspire children for generations to come, reports the National. "For the UAE, this is one of the milestone missions in the space sector," he said.