The first Arab space mission to Mars has blasted off aboard a rocket from Japan.
With its unmanned probe – called Al-Amal, or Hope – successfully separating about an hour after liftoff.
A live feed of the launch showed the rocket carrying the probe lifting off from the TanegashimaSpace Centre in southernJapan.
Almost exactly one hour later, the feed showed people applauding in the Japanese control room as the probe successfully detached.
The launch was met with rapturous excitement, with the UAE Mars mission’s deputy project manager Sarah al-Amiri declaring it “an indescribable feeling” to see the probe blasting off.
“This is the future of the UAE,” .Amiri, who is also minister of state for advanced sciences, told Dubai TV from the launch site.
The Emirati project is one of three racing to Mars,
including Tianwen-1 from China and the United States, taking advantage of a period when the Earth and Mars are close.
In October, Mars will be a comparatively short 38.6m miles (62m km) from Earth, according to Nasa.
Hope is expected to reach Mars’s orbit by February2021, marking the 50thanniversary of the unification of the UAE, an alliance of sevenemirates.
Unlike the two other Mars ventures scheduled for this year.
It will not land on the planet, but instead orbit it for a whole Martian year, or 687 days.
The objective of the Marsmission is to provide a comprehensive image of the weather dynamics in the red planet’s atmosphere.
The probe is a foundation for a much bigger goal building a human settlement on Mars within the next 100years.