Japanese Rocket Launches First-ever UAE-made Satellite Into Orbit

The launch marks progress in the Gulf nation’s fledgling space program, as the United Arab Emirates aims to send a probe on its way to Mars in 2020 and to build a science city there by 2117

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's ruler and the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, center back row, visits the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center to see the locally made KhalifaSat satellite in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in this undated photograph released February 2, 2018.
WAM via AP

A Japanese rocket on Monday lifted the United Arab Emirates’ first locally made satellite into orbit successfully from a space center in southern Japan.

The KhalifaSat Earth observation satellite was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries from the Tanegashima Space Center.

The H-2A rocket also is carrying an Ibuki-2 greenhouse gas observation satellite for Japan.

Both the KhalifaSat and Ibuki-2 have since been released separately into targeted orbit, said MHI Launch Services.

The launch marks progress in the Gulf nation’s fledgling space program.

The country aims to send its first two astronauts to the International Space Station in 2019. The UAE also aims to send a probe on its way to Mars in 2020 and to build a science city there by 2117.

Japan also aims to expand its commercial satellite launch services by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and make them globally competitive.