It will take approximately one hour for a Japanese H-2A rocket to propel the Hope Mars orbiter on a trajectory to escape Earth’s gravitational bond, kicking off a seven-month journey to the Red Planet.
The 174-foot-tall (53-meter) rocket is set for liftoff at 5:58:14 p.m. EDT (2158:14 GMT) Sunday from Launch Pad No. 1 at the Yoshinobu launch complex located at the Tanegashima Space Center. The spaceport is situated on Tanegashima Island on the southern end of the Japanese main islands.
Liftoff is timed for 6:58 a.m. Japan Standard Time on Monday.
The launch will mark the 42nd flight of an H-2A rocket since 2001, and Japan’s third space launch of 2020. It will also be the first H-2A launch to carry a mission to Mars, and the fourth H-2A rocket mission with a probe heading to another world, following flights that deployed spacecraft destined for the moon, Venus, and an asteroid.
The Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope spacecraft will enter orbit around the Red Planet in February 2021 and gather data on the Martian climate and weather.
The timeline below outlines the launch sequence for the H-2A flight with the Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope spacecraft.
Ten more satellites for Iridium’s commercial communications network flew into orbit Friday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, raising the total number of upgraded Iridium spacecraft launched to 50 and clearing the way for liftoff of a SpaceX supply ship Monday from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station.
NASA’s Perseverance rover, set for liftoff Thursday on a journey to Mars, posed some unusual challenges for launch crews working with the robot’s plutonium-fueled power generator, but United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket is uniquely suited for the job, the company’s CEO says.