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Mitsubishi Heavy launches rocket carrying UAE's Mars orbiter

Christian Fernsby |
Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. on Monday launched a rocket carrying a Mars orbiter developed by the United Arab Emirates.

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Topics: MITSUBISHI    UAE    MARS   

At 6:58 a.m. local time, the H2A rocket carrying the Hope explorer blasted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

The 1.5-ton Hope explorer, which measures 2.9 meters in length and 2.37 meters in width, was developed at Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai. It is expected to reach orbit around Mars in 2021 to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE.

The launch was originally set for last Wednesday, but was postponed due to bad weather at the launch site.

It is the fourth time for the Japanese company to use the H2A rocket to launch a foreign satellite into space. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, officials in Minamitane Town, where the launch pad is located, have closed areas normally reserved for people to watch a rocket launch.

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