The launch of a United Arab Emirates Mars orbiter, which has already been delayed for two days, was further postponed at the Japanese launch site due to bad weather. The orbiter known as Amal, or Hope, is the first interplanetary mission of the Arab world. The launch, originally scheduled for Wednesday from southern Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center, had already been postponed to Friday. It was further postponed to an unspecified date on Wednesday, H-IIA rocket supplier Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said.
On Twitter the UAE task team said the launch would take place later in July. Mitsubishi said the launches are normally confirmed at least two days before the scheduled date. Earlier this week, Mitsubishi launch official Keiji Suzuki said a postponement was likely because sporadic lightning and rain were expected for the next few days. In wide parts of Japan heavy rain has dropped for more than a week, causing deadly mudslides and floods on Kyushu ‘s southern main island.
Hope holds three instruments to research the upper atmosphere and track climate change, and is planned for at least two years to orbit the red planet. UAE says for the first time it will have a complete view of the Martian atmosphere across different seasons. The United States and China are preparing two more Mars flights in the coming days. Japan is planning its own Martian Moon launch by 2024.