Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre ­orders rocket launcher

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre has put in an ­order for a rocket launcher with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to propel the Emirates Mars Mission Hope spacecraft in 2020.

Financial details for the H-IIA rocket were not disclosed.

“With this partnership with the UAE to launch the EMM’s Hope spacecraft, Mitsubishi pledges to make full-fledged efforts so as not only to enhance the space industry in Japan but also to make various contributions to the UAE’s endeavours in space related activities,” the Japanese company said.

The UAE Space Agency is planning to launch its Al Amal probe to Mars in 2020, which would enter the planet’s orbit in 2021 and coincide with the UAE’s 50th anniversary.

The UAE has been ramping up its space programme since launching its first satellite in 2009, investing more than US$5.5 billion in exploration efforts.

The UAE Space Agency’s Mars mission was conceived to provide inspiration to young people across the Middle East to pursue careers in science and technology.

The H-IIA rocket has had a 96.7 per cent success rate, with 29 successful launches out of 30, according to Mitsubishi.

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