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Emiratis gather at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: After being scrubbed twice, the new launch date for the UAE’s Hope Mars mission has been set on Monday, July 20, at exactly 1.58am (UAE time).

The new launch date, however, may change depending on weather conditions on Tanegashima Island in Japan. “Any further delay caused by weather conditions at the launch site will be communicated in due course,” the UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) tweeted on Friday.

Hope Probe will lift off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre (TNSC) aboard a H-IIA rocket manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

Fair weather is crucial for the safe and successful launch of the first Arab interplanetary mission that will study Martain atmosphere and answer vital scientific questions.

The launch of Hope Probe was twice scrubbed or delayed – first on July 15 then on July 17 - due to continued thunderstorms, clouds and unstable weather conditions on Tanegashima Island.

Based on weather forecast by Japan Meteorological Agency, weather will improve around Kagoshima Prefecture, where Tanegashima Island is part of.

Sunny weather on Monday

Japan is five hours ahead of the UAE. Launch time in Japan is at 6.58am. It is expected to be sunny but cloudy. The probability of precipitation or chance of rain is at 30 per cent while wind gust is from a low of 7-11km/h on early Monday morning.

The UAE Space Agency and MBRSC earlier enumerated the weather requirement on launch aday.

Peak wind should be 20.9m/s (75.24kph) and the amount of rainfall on launch day should be below 8mm/hour. There should also be no cumulonimbus clouds or dense, towering vertical clouds associated with thunder storms and heavy precipitation in flight trajectory.

Atmospheric discharge (electrical discharge in air) should not be present in the flight trajectory and there should be no lightning within 10km radius of launch site at Tanegashima Island in Japan. There should also be no lighting within 20km of the rocket’s flight plan.

Witness history as it unfolds

UAE residents can witness history unfold as Hope Probe begins its journey to Mars in the early hours of July 20. The launch will be livestreamed from TNSC live on https://www.emiratesmarsmission.ae/live/ and will be available in both English and Arabic.

The launch of Hope Probe is historic not only for being the UAE’s first mission to Mars but it will also mark as the first time in history that the countdown for a space mission will be done in Arabic.

“With a voice that will make history, the Hope Probe to Mars will be launched with the first Arabic countdown ever… Our voice will echo our ancestors’ legacy and a voice will make history with the first Arabic countdown,” according to an earlier statement by the Dubai Media Office.

Hope Probe will undertake a 495-million kilometre journey to reach and orbit Mars. The voyage will take around 200 days and Hope Probe is expected to reach Mars in February 2021, coinciding with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The orbiter will help international scientists understand the weather and learn how Mars lost some of its atmosphere over billions of years.