UAE rocket lifts off in Arab’s world first interplanetary mission

epa08555817 A handout photo made available by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) shows an H2-A rocket carrying 'Hope', a spacecraft developed by the United Arab Emirates, taking off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, 20 July 2020. The Emirates Mars Mission is the first planetary mission led by an Arab-Islamic country and the space probe is to study the Martian atmosphere. Hope is scheduled to reach Mars' orbit in 2021. EPA-EFE/MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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A United Arab Emirates spacecraft rocketed away Monday on a seven-month journey to Mars, kicking off the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.

The liftoff of the Mars orbiter named Amal, or Hope, from Japan marked the start of a rush to fly to Earth’s neighbor that includes attempts by China and the United States.

The UAE said its ‘Amal’ space probe was functioning after launch as it heads toward Mars.

Omran Sharaf, the project director of Emirates Mars Mission, told journalists in Dubai about an hour and a half after the liftoff that the probe was sending signals. Sharaf said his team now would examine the data, but everything appeared good for now.

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