A Japanese rocket carrying the United Arab Emirates’ first locally made satellite has lifted off from a space center in southern Japan.

The KhalifaSat Earth observation satellite was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency from its Tanegashima Space Center.

Japan's rocket H-2A is launched, carrying aboard a green gas observing satellite
Japan’s rocket H-2A is launched, carrying aboard a green gas observing satellite “Ibuki-2” and KhalifaSat, a UAE satellite, Tanegashima, southern Japan, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. The Japanese rocket carrying United Arab Emirates’ first locally-made satellite has successfully lifted off from a space center in southern Japan. (Nozomi Endo/Kyodo News via AP)

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

The launch is part of the Gulf nation’s ambition under its fledging space program.

In this undated photograph released Feb. 2, 2018 by the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM), 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. A Japanese rocket carrying the United Arab Emirates' first locally-made satellite has successfully lifted off from a space center in southern Japan Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (WAM via AP)
In this undated photograph released Feb. 2, 2018 by the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM), 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. A Japanese rocket carrying the United Arab Emirates’ first locally-made satellite has successfully lifted off from a space center in southern Japan Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (WAM via AP)

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.

Source: The Associated Press