Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. has received an order for H-IIA launch services from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for launch of the Emirates Mars Mission’s (EMM) Hope spacecraft. In order to better understand the Martian atmosphere and climate, Hope is expected to be launched in the summer of 2020 on MHI’s H-IIA launch vehicle, and is set to arrive at Mars in 2021 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE. This order for the EMM marks MHI’s fourth overseas contract for its launch services.
The UAE Space Agency (UAESA) takes administrative and financial responsibility for the EMM, and MBRSC is responsible for leading the design and development of Hope, as well as the execution of all phases of EMM, which includes technical coordination with the H-IIA launch vehicle.
The previous three orders received by MHI from overseas customers involved the 2012 launch of the Korea Multipurpose Satellite-3 (KOMPSAT-3) for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the 2015 launch of the TELSTAR 12 VANTAGE communications and broadcasting satellite for Telesat Canada, and launch of the KhalifaSat for MBRSC, planned in 2018.
MBRSC, or the former Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), was newly established by the Dubai Government in 2006. The Space Centre is working to develop the science and technology sectors in the region, which include research and development in satellite manufacturing and systems development, and Earth observation through satellite images.
The H-IIA rocket is the most current and reliable launcher in Japan. MHI believes the H-IIA has a strong advantage with its high success rate of 96.7 percent (29 successful launches among 30 flights). It also has a brilliant on-time launch history in past flights, to customers’ great satisfaction.
MHI has been playing an important role in Japan’s development of space launch vehicles since a national program was started in Japan in 1975. Following technology transfer from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), MHI has been placed in charge of all aspects from manufacturing to launching satellites from the H-IIA No.13 (launched in September 2007) and the H-IIB No.4 (launched in August 2013).
With this partnership with the UAE to launch the EMM’s Hope spacecraft, MHI pledges to make full-fledged efforts so as not only to enhance the space industry in Japan, but also to make various contributions to the UAE’s endeavors in space-related activities.