UAE's Mars orbiter launch from Japan delayed by weather

  • This June 1, 2020, rendering provided by Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre shows the Hope probe. The U.S., China and the United Arab Emirates are sending spacecraft to Mars in quick succession beginning this week.(MBRSC via AP)

    This June 1, 2020, rendering provided by Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre shows the Hope probe. The U.S., China and the United Arab Emirates are sending spacecraft to Mars in quick succession beginning this week.(MBRSC via AP) Associated Press

  • In this image made from video released by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, project manager Omran Sharaf, left, and and Keiji Suzuki of Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, attend a pre-launch video briefing of a Mars orbiter, Monday, July 13, 2020. The United Arab Emirates is up first with the Martian orbiter set to launch from Japan on Wednesday, July 15. The liftoff of the Mars orbiter named Amal, or Hope, from Japan marked the start of a rush to fly to Earth's neighbor. (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries via AP)

    In this image made from video released by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, project manager Omran Sharaf, left, and and Keiji Suzuki of Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, attend a pre-launch video briefing of a Mars orbiter, Monday, July 13, 2020. The United Arab Emirates is up first with the Martian orbiter set to launch from Japan on Wednesday, July 15. The liftoff of the Mars orbiter named Amal, or Hope, from Japan marked the start of a rush to fly to Earth's neighbor. (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries via AP) Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, May 6, 2015 file photo, Sarah Amiri, deputy project manager of the United Arab Emirates Mars mission, talks about the project named "Hope," or "al-Amal" in Arabic, which is scheduled for launch in 2020, during a ceremony in Dubai, UAE. Three countries - the United States, China and the United Arab Emirates - are sending unmanned spacecraft to the red planet in quick succession beginning in July 2020.

    FILE - In this Wednesday, May 6, 2015 file photo, Sarah Amiri, deputy project manager of the United Arab Emirates Mars mission, talks about the project named "Hope," or "al-Amal" in Arabic, which is scheduled for launch in 2020, during a ceremony in Dubai, UAE. Three countries - the United States, China and the United Arab Emirates - are sending unmanned spacecraft to the red planet in quick succession beginning in July 2020. Associated Press

  • In this image made from video released by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, project manager Omran Sharaf speaks during a pre-launch video briefing of a Mars orbiter, Monday, July 13, 2020. The United Arab Emirates is up first with the Martian orbiter set to launch from Japan on Wednesday, July 15. The liftoff of the Mars orbiter named Amal, or Hope, from Japan marked the start of a rush to fly to Earth's neighbor. (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries via AP)

    In this image made from video released by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, project manager Omran Sharaf speaks during a pre-launch video briefing of a Mars orbiter, Monday, July 13, 2020. The United Arab Emirates is up first with the Martian orbiter set to launch from Japan on Wednesday, July 15. The liftoff of the Mars orbiter named Amal, or Hope, from Japan marked the start of a rush to fly to Earth's neighbor. (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries via AP) Associated Press

  • In this image made from video released by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Keiji Suzuki, director of Mitsubishi Launch Site Service Team of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, speaks during a pre-launch video briefing of a Mars orbiter, Monday, July 13, 2020. The United Arab Emirates is up first with the Martian orbiter set to launch from Japan on Wednesday, July 15. The liftoff of the Mars orbiter named Amal, or Hope, from Japan marked the start of a rush to fly to Earth's neighbor. (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries via AP)

    In this image made from video released by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Keiji Suzuki, director of Mitsubishi Launch Site Service Team of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, speaks during a pre-launch video briefing of a Mars orbiter, Monday, July 13, 2020. The United Arab Emirates is up first with the Martian orbiter set to launch from Japan on Wednesday, July 15. The liftoff of the Mars orbiter named Amal, or Hope, from Japan marked the start of a rush to fly to Earth's neighbor. (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries via AP) Associated Press

 
 
Posted7/14/2020 7:00 AM

TOKYO -- The liftoff of the United Arab Emirates' Mars orbiter was postponed until Friday due to bad weather at the Japanese launch site.

The orbiter named Amal, or Hope, is the Arab world's first interplanetary mission. The launch was scheduled for Wednesday from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan, but the UAE mission team announced the rescheduled date on Twitter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' H-IIA rocket will carry UAE's craft into space. Mitsubishi launch official Keiji Suzuki had said on Monday a postponement was possible as intermittent lightning and rain were forecast over the next few days.

Heavy rain has fallen for more than a week in large areas of Japan, triggering mudslides and floods and killing more than 70 people, most of them on the southern main island of Kyushu.

Hope is set 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.

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Emirates Mars Mission Project Director Omran Sharaf, who joined Monday's briefing from Dubai, said the mission will provide a complete view of the Martian atmosphere during different seasons for the first time.

Two other Mars missions are planned in coming days by the U.S. and China. Japan has its own Martian moon mission planned in 2024.

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Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

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