The United Arab Emirates is embarking on its first voyage to Mars. The nation has had to wait, with weather conditions forcing two delays but on Sunday, the UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashin Space Center will send the "Al Amal" or "Hope" probe to the red planet. The GO command has been sent, so it's happening -- and you can watch live below.
Hope had been scheduled to launch on Friday, July 17, from Tanegashima, a Japanese island in the north Pacific Ocean, within a Mitsubishi H-IIA booster. Japan has seen heavy rain and flooding in the last week forcing the double-delay, but conditions appear to be easing. The mission team said Friday the exact launch time is now slated to happen on July 19 at 2:58 p.m. PT, depending on weather.
How to watch the Hope probe launch to Mars
The probe will launch on a Mitsubishi H-IIA booster. The rocket isn't quite as famous as the likes of , but it does have a great launch history, with over 40 successful launches under its belt, mostly of Japanese satellite systems.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre will carry a livestream of the launch from Japan, which you can watch via this link. You can also watch at YouTube below and set a reminder, if you need.
The stream will continue until around 4 p.m. PT when the Hope probe is set to separate from the booster.
Additional streams are available on the Hope Mars mission YouTube channel.
One big hope
Hope is the first interplanetary mission led by an Arab, Muslim-majority country and, if successful, will add another nation to the list of Martian explorers.
"The intent was not to put a message or declaration to the world," Sarah Al Amiri, chair of the UAE Council of Scientists and deputy project manager for the Emirates Mars Mission, told CNET in March. "It was, for us, more of an internal reinforcement of what the UAE is about." The historic launch is set to be livestreamed across the globe.
The satellite will study the connections between Mars' lower and upper atmosphere and examine what causes the loss of hydrogen and oxygen into space. It'll collect data for two years after achieving its orbit around Mars in February 2021. There's an option to extend the mission to 2025.
Aboard Hope are three instruments which will enable the probe to study the Martian atmosphere more intensely. There's a high-resolution camera known as the Emirates eXploration Imager, a UV imager known as the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer, and a scanning infrared imager dubbed the Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer.