Hope Probe being readied for launch at the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
A new launch date in July will be announced within the next 24 hours. After extensive meetings, the UAE Space Agency and MBR Space Centre, through discussions with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, announce a further delay of the Mars Hope Probe launch due to continued unstable weather conditions at the launch site in Tanegashima Island, Japan.
The United Arab Emirates has postponed the launch of its mission to Mars for a second time due to weather conditions at the launch site in Japan, the government's communications office said on Wednesday.
A new launch date in July will be announced soon, the statement on Twitter said. The UAE has said the launch window extends until Aug. 3, adds Reuters.
The UAE's Hope Probe was due to launch from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center at 12:51am UAE time on Wednesday (2051 GMT Tuesday) for a seven-month journey to the red planet where it was due to orbit and send back data about the atmosphere.
Weather conditions play a central role in ensuring a safe rocket launch to space due to the weather’s impact on the upper atmosphere. A further evaluation will be conducted five hours before the new launch time, and once again an hour before liftoff.
According to the weather forecasts by Japan Meteorological Agency, heavy rainstorms are expected to continue in southern and central Japan.
Since July 4, Japan has been reeling from devastating rains and flooding that damaged 14,000 properties, hardly hitting the southwestern-most island of Kyushu, while heavy rains have spread into the central mainland.
The new liftoff meets the launch window that extends until August 3, 2020. The launch window 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.
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.
NASA had earlier postponed the launch of its Mars Perseverance rover three times until today.
The rover is scheduled to reach Mars on February 2021, with NASA’s experts announcing the possibility of postponing the mission to the autumn of 2022 if the rover was not given the go before the launch window closes mid-August.
Earlier in March 2020, the European Space Agency and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos Space Corporation decided to postpone the launch of the ExoMars mission to study the Red Planet to 2022 due to multiple technical issues.
The American Space X has also postponed the launch of its 10th batch of Starlink communication satellites atop its Falcon 9 rocket three times.
The rocket was initially scheduled to carry 57 satellites to operate in the Earth orbit on June 26, 2020 before it was postponed to July 8 for further preflight checks.
A second delay to July 11 was caused by the weather, while another was caused by further rocket checks.
The Emirati project is one of three racing to Mars, including Tianwen-1 from China and Mars 2020 from the United States, taking advantage of the period when the Earth and Mars are nearest, some 55 million Kilometres (34 million miles) apart.
"Hope" or Al-Amal in Arabic is expected to reach Mars's orbit by February 2021, marking the 50th anniversary of the unification of the uae.
Once there, it will loop the planet for a whole Martian year -- 687 days.
The objective of the UAE Mars mission is to provide a comprehensive image of the weather dynamics in the Red Planet's atmosphere and pave the way for scientific breakthroughs.
A new launch date for the UAE Hope Probe mission to Mars have been set for Friday July 17, 2020 at 12:43am UAE time.
The Hope Probe will make a 7-month-long journey to the red planet covering 493,500,000km, according to Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
The image was taken from an altitude of 24,700 kilometres (15,300 miles) above the Martian surface on Wednesday, a day after the probe entered Mars' orbit, it said in a statement.
The Government of Dubai Media Office on Twitter shared a post of babies born on the day of the historic red letter day. The media office wrote, “Astronauts of the future, born on Feb 9, 2021 — the day the UAE made it to Mars.
According to government data on Sunday, the nationwide tally of infections has reached 34.17 million since the start of the pandemic. The health ministry statement said the country reported 561 deaths overnight, taking the overall tally to 454,269 fatalities.
The central weather bureau traced the epicentre of the quake to northeastern Yilan county, and said it hit at a depth of 67 kilometres. According to preliminary data, the quake was located at a moderately shallow depth of 66km.
It comes after North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Tuesday, prompting an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.