July 27, 2021

Photos: H-2A rocket reaches launch pad with UAE’s Hope Mars probe


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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries transferred an H-2A rocket to its launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on Sunday, ready to commence a final countdown before liftoff with the Hope Mars mission for the United Arab Emirates.

The 500-meter (1,600-foot) journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad No. 1 at Tanegashima’s Yoshinobu launch complex occurred occurred Sunday afternoon, Japanese time.

Riding a mobile launch platform, the 174-foot-tall (53-meter) rocket completed the journey in about 30 minutes. Ground teams will mate electrical, data and fluid connections between the H-2A rocket and the launch pad in the coming hours.

Officials from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the H-2A’s builder and launch operator, decided to press ahead with the rollout of the rocket to the launch pad after assessing the weather forecast for Sunday’s launch opportunity at 5:58:14 p.m. EDT (2158:14 GMT).

Liftoff with the UAE’s Hope Mars orbiter is scheduled for 6:58 a.m. Japan Standard Time on Monday.

See our Mission Status Center for full coverage of the countdown and launch. Photos of the H-2A’s rollout to the launch pad are posted below.

Credit: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Credit: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Credit: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Credit: UAE Space Agency/MBRSC
Credit: UAE Space Agency/MBRSC
Credit: UAE Space Agency/MBRSC
Credit: UAE Space Agency/MBRSC

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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