The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday celebrated the launch of its Hope probe, Arab world's first Mars orbiter, deemed as an ambitious and pioneering breakthrough.
Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. on Monday launched a rocket carrying the orbiter from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan.
The 1.5-ton Hope Probe, which measures 2.9 meters in length and 2.37 meters in width, was developed at Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai.
It is expected to reach orbit around Mars in 2021 to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE.
The mission is also the first of its kind by a Middle Eastern country.
Its success immediately triggered vast jubilation across the UAE. The orbiter was launched at 1:58 a.m. local time in UAE, but many Emirati citizens were still watching the live broadcast of the launch through TV and internet, witnessing their dream come true.
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the launch of the Hope probe on its "historic" journey to Mars under the slogan of "Nothing is impossible" constitutes a national and Arab achievement and an advanced Emirati push in the process of building global knowledge in space.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai, said the UAE has created history with an unprecedented Arab space achievement.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, said the UAE has strengthened its position as a country that "creates future and embraces hope."
In an online press conference, project manager Omran Sharaf said the probe's broader objective was aimed at developing the country's space sector so that more investment could be garnered for a knowledge-based economy that was less dependent on oil.
Sara Musallam, chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, commended UAE leadership on this Mars mission and said education is in place to nurture the next generation of homegrown space adventurers.
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