The National - News

‘I WILL WATCH MY COUNTRY’S FLAG GOING TO ANOTHER PLANET’

▶ Astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri says UAE Mars mission will reveal Red Planet to the world and inspire a generation

- SARWAT NASIR

The UAE’s Mars mission will inspire children to become space scientists, engineers and technician­s, said Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati into space.

With less than a day to the launch of the Hope probe, the former military fighter pilot said there is a growing interest in space among young Arabs, including his children.

“My kids are all about space. They are really excited,” Maj Al Mansouri said.

“This probe will give a full picture of Mars and more understand­ing of the planet.

“It’s really exciting for me because I will watch my country’s flag going to another planet.”

Maj Al Mansouri and hundreds of thousands of people will watch a live stream of the launch of the probe at 12.51am tomorrow from Japan’s Tanegashim­a Space Centre. The stream is available in English and Arabic and can be viewed with or without commentary.

The residents of Tanegashim­a will have the chance to witness the first Arab interplane­tary mission taking off despite authoritie­s having closed public viewing events because of the coronaviru­s.

The countdown for blast-off is on schedule, said engineers from Mitshubish­i Heavy Industries, the Japanese company that built the launch system.

The rocket carrying the Hope probe into space will be manoeuvred on to the launch pad for the first time today.

“There is concern about rain and lightning from the afternoon of the 14th until the launch time,” said Keiji Suzuki, director of the Mitsubishi launch site service team.

“But we will proceed as planned while judging the weather conditions.”

Thundersto­rms over the site are not expected to last long, Mr Suzuki said.

 ?? Emirates Mars Mission ?? The Hope spacecraft being encapsulat­ed into the payload fairing. The probe is already fuelled with 800 kilograms of hydrogen for its seven-month journey to Mars. Above left, Hazza Al Mansouri
Emirates Mars Mission The Hope spacecraft being encapsulat­ed into the payload fairing. The probe is already fuelled with 800 kilograms of hydrogen for its seven-month journey to Mars. Above left, Hazza Al Mansouri
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