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UAE launches Arab world's first Mars probe, establishes communication with orbiter (VIDEO)

The UAE has successfully launched a rocket carrying a Mars orbiter from a site in Japan. The probe, which will monitor the atmosphere on the Red Planet, is the Arab world's first interplanetary exploration mission.

The Emirati Hope (Amal) orbiter separated from the Mitsubishi H-IIA rocket and is heading for Mars, which it is scheduled to reach in February. The mission is going according to plan, officials said, as the ground team in Dubai has established communications with the probe and received its first signal transmitted to Earth.  

The spacecraft is designed to monitor Mars from above the planet using an infrared spectrometer, an ultraviolet spectrometer and a camera. The orbiter will study the atmosphere condition and record climate change on the Red Planet, among other things. 

The launch marks the first interplanetary exploration mission by an Arab country. The historic send-off was due to commence earlier this month, but was delayed several times because of bad weather.

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