Abu Dhabi/ Tanegashima (Japan): Bad weather made UAE’s dream on Space technology achievement to delay for two more days. The launch was expected on today 12:51 AM (UAE time). But an adverse weather at the launch site Tanegashima island of Japan made the UAE Mars Mission officials to change the date to 17th of this month. The decision was made by the UAE Space Agency, Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which built the rocket that will launch the probe to space, on Tuesday.
The Project manager of UAE Mars Mission Omran Al Sharaf said that they would make re assessment on weather situations a few hours before the new launch date. “Japan has been witnessing unstable weather conditions and it seems this might not subdue shortly,” he said during an interview with Dubai TV. “So, even on the 17th, the team will meet to assess the situation on that day.”
He said strict safety standards had to be met before the rocket can be launched. “We are talking about a rocket here and it will pass different areas of the atmospheres and unstable weather conditions are present, from storms to heavy rainfall. Not only could this affect the rocket but it also endangers the probe inside the fairing”, Omran said.
He said the team was still studying the situation and that it would be a great loss to see years of work lost because of unstable weather. “The team has been working to launch the probe as soon as possible, but at the same time, we will not put the probe and the airspace at risk. This is a unanimous decision we have reached, in co-ordination with the UAE government and the Japanese partners.”
The rocket carrying the Hope probe into space was due to be moved to the launch pad on Tanegashima Island after receiving approval earlier on Tuesday. The weather turned out bad almost immediately after the crew was given the “go ahead”, leading to the planned launch being put off for two days. Omran added that the atmospheric conditions must be not only favourable but stable also for at least 24 hours to approve the launch.
The Mission has got a time frame upto August 3rd for the launch, since this is the best possible time frame for a launch from earth to the Mars. Even the USA and China are also planning their Mars projects within this time frame. If the launch isn’t possible within August 3rd, the Mars Mission will have to wait for two more years to prepare the launch.
Meanwhile, the Engineers of the Mission were concerned about the heavy rain that had plagued the area for weeks with record rains falling over the Kagoshima prefecture, which includes the island city of Tanegashima. Launch mistakes would be common if there are atmospheric instabilities and that turns out why the Engineers are concerned with the weather situations. In January, a rocket launch carrying a satellite to space from the Tanegashima island was postponed because the weather had deteriorated. In 2018, another satellite launch from the island was delayed for the same reason. The SpaceX launch carrying the first commercial crew to space earlier this year was scrubbed 17-minutes before lift-off due to bad weather at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
However, the country is still hopeful about the starting of its biggest space mission on Friday. The people and the engineers of the Mission who had been spending the last six years for this mission hope so. Click here to know the Mission details and how to watch the live launch on Friday.