NASA schedules first Mars helicopter test flight for Monday – Spaceflight Now


Spaceflight Now 18 April, 2021 - 02:22pm 15 views

When will ingenuity fly on Mars?

NASA has rescheduled the first flight of its Ingenuity Mars helicopter to April 19th at 3:30AM ET, the agency announced Saturday. The four-pound helicopter that arrived on Mars on February 18th with its parent rover Perseverance has seen its first flight delayed a few times. The VergeNASA reschedules Ingenuity helicopter’s first flight on Mars for Monday

Did ingenuity fly on Mars yet?

NASA has recently confirmed that its Ingenuity mars mini-helicopter had successfully touched down on the red planet to prepare for its first flight. NASA Ingenuity is attached to the belly of NASA's Perseverance rover that touched down on Mars on February 18, 2021. Mashable IndiaNASA Delays First Flight Of Its Ingenuity Helicopter On Mars Yet Again!

NASA says its Mars helicopter is ready for a historic first flight

Ars Technica 18 April, 2021 - 07:00pm

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NASA has resolved the issues with its Ingenuity helicopter on the surface of Mars and is ready to fly.

The space agency announced on Saturday that it will attempt to fly the small, 1.8kg helicopter early on Monday. The first flight is scheduled to take place at about 3:30am ET (07:30 UTC). It will take a few hours to relay data from the helicopter to the Perseverance rover, and then to an orbiting satellite and back to Earth. So NASA anticipates receiving the first data back from Mars some time after 6:15am ET.

The space agency will begin a livestream at that time, sharing any photos and reactions from scientists and engineers as humans attempt to fly a powered vehicle on another world for the first time.

NASA originally planned to fly Ingenuity about one week ago, but during a pre-flight test engineers encountered a problem. When the engineers sent a command to the helicopter to test the rotation of its two counter-rotating blades, each of which is 1.2 meters long, an issue prevented the test from occurring.

Since then the mission team, led by project manager MiMi Aung at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, worked on a software fix to that entailed adding a few commands to the flight sequence. Since this was a change to software that had been in a stable configuration for about two years, it required extensive testing and validation before being sent to the helicopter.

But the software patch seems to have worked, because on Friday the helicopter completed a full-speed spin test, setting up the opportunity for a historic flight. For this first flight, Ingenuity will rise a couple of meters above the ground, hover in the air for about 20 to 30 seconds, and then land. Notably, the first flight of the Wright Brothers' airplane lasted for 12 seconds.

If this test flight is successful, NASA will get more bold in future forays, eventually flying the helicopter for up to 300 meters distance at a time.

This is all experimental, so it's quite possible that Ingenuity will fail. But NASA deserves credit for taking risks in order to push the frontier of exploration out that little bit further. And in attempting to fly on Mars, NASA will be gathering valuable data for an ambitious mission to Titan, Dragonfly, that will attempt to hop across the enigmatic moon's sand dunes about a decade from now.

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NASA to Attempt First Controlled Flight of Ingenuity Helicopter on Mars As Soon As Monday

SciTechDaily 17 April, 2021 - 01:57pm

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s carbon fiber blades can be seen in this video taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on April 8, 2021, the 48th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. They are performing a wiggle test before the actual spin-up to ensure they were working properly. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

A livestream will begin at 3:15 a.m. PDT that morning as the helicopter team prepares to receive the data downlink at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

NASA is targeting no earlier than Monday, April 19, for the first flight of its Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at approximately 3:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 a.m. PDT).

Data from the first flight will return to Earth a few hours following the autonomous flight. A livestream will begin at 6:15 a.m. EDT (3:15 a.m. PDT) as the helicopter team prepares to receive the data downlink in the Space Flight Operations Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Watch on NASA Television, the agency app, website, and social media platforms, including YouTube and Facebook.

If the flight takes place April 19, a postflight briefing will be held at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT).

The public also may ask questions on social media during the livestream and briefing using #MarsHelicopter.

Find the latest schedule updates at:

The original flight date of April 11 shifted as engineers worked on preflight checks and a solution to a command sequence issue. The rover will provide support during flight operations, taking images, collecting environmental data, and hosting the base station that enables the helicopter to communicate with mission controllers on Earth.

This technology demonstration is supported by NASA’s Science, Aeronautics Research, and Space Technology mission directorates. JPL, managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations for Ingenuity and the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.

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