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Japanese connections to the UAE Mars Mission

15 Oct 2019
UAE officials, engineers and scientists take part in a ceremony to unveil UAE's Mars Mission on May 6, 2015 in Dubai. (File photo: AFP)
UAE officials, engineers and scientists take part in a ceremony to unveil UAE's Mars Mission on May 6, 2015 in Dubai. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 15 Oct 2019
15 Oct 2019

Staff Writer

Hope literally floats when it comes to naming space missions. That has at least been the case with Japan and the UAE.

Kibo, meaning hope, is the nickname of a Japanese experiment module for the International Space Station, while the UAE Mars Mission, scheduled to launch in July 2020, is called the Hope Probe.

The launch of the Arab world’s first spacecraft to Mars will take place from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center.

Tanegashima is the largest rocket-launch complex in Japan. The UAE’s Earth-observation satellite KhalifaSat was launched from there in 2018.

Located on the southeast coast of the island of Tanegashima, the Space Center was established in 1969 and is run by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The Hope Probe is scheduled to reach Mars by February 2021, coinciding with the year of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee.

The Hope Probe: A timeline

  • On July 6, 2014, the UAE announced plans to set up a space agency and send the Arab world’s first mission to Mars, headed by Emiratis, by 2021.
  • On Oct. 21, 2014, the UAE’s Mars Mission was announced with a plan to reach the planet in 2021.
  • On April 14, 2015, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum asked UAE residents to name the country’s Mars probe.
  • On March 22, 2016, JAXA President Dr. Naoki Okumura and Dr. Khalifa Mohammed Thani Al-Romaithi, chairman of the board of directors of the UAE Space Agency (UAESA), signed an “arrangement regarding cooperation in space activities and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.”
  • The first joint committee between JAXA and the UAESA was held on May 11, 2016, where they entered into an interagency agreement.
  • On Jan. 21, 2019, officials of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre announced that the Hope Probe would be launched next year between July 14 and Aug. 3 from Japan.
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