Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Achieves First Flight Success! - AeroSpace News - #AeroSpaceNews Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Achieves First Flight Success! - AeroSpace News - #AeroSpaceNews
Pages Menu
Categories Menu



Posted by in Space News

Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Achieves First Flight Success!

In a series of “firsts,” a team led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have pioneered not only remote operation of a drone helicopter over unprecedented distance, they have also been the first to fly a powered aircraft on another world. A world with vastly different atmospheric conditions than earth, conditions that could not be 100% replicated on earth during testing prior to launching the experimental aircraft to Mars.

Dusty Ingenuity Mars helicopter

A dusty Ingenuity Mars helicopter awaits first flight.


The ambition of this effort can not be overstated. Nor can this accomplishment.

If all goes to plan, this first flight of the Ingenuity helicopter, delivered to Mars along with the rover Perseverance, will begin an approximately one-month flight test program of the tiny helicopter.

First flight of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter showing shadow on surface of Mars

First flight of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter showing shadow of Ingenuity on surface of Mars.


The first photo of the flight iconically depicts the dragonfly-like silhouette of Ingenuity cast as a shadow on the surface of Mars. Additional imagery captured from the same camera but closer to the surface featured more of the boxy shape created by the solar panels atop the little drone.

Later, a low frame rate video captured by Perseverance arrived documenting the historic first flight.


According to NASA, the helicopter took off at 3:34 a.m. EDT (12:34 a.m. PDT) 19 April 2021, which is 12:33 Local Mean Solar Time (Mars time). This schedule was selected because the Ingenuity team determined it would provide the solar-powered drone optimal energy and flight conditions.

In a statement, JPL said that altimeter data indicated Ingenuity climbed to a maximum altitude of 10 feet (3 meters) and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds. It then descended, touching back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight.

Graph of first flight of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter altitude and flight time.

Graph of first flight of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter altitude and flight time.


All images/videos: Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Share:

Support Our Work. Keep Us In Flight.

Independent publishers like AeroSpaceNews.com depend on readers like you to help us soar. If you enjoyed your visit please become a member of our crew by supporting us with a contribution. Visit aerospacenews.com/fans and contribute any amount you can afford. Every bit helps. Thanks!

If your business or brand would like to sponsor our aviation podcast, website or videos please visit aerospacenews.com/sponsor and select one of our affordable options. Thanks!

Another way you can support us if you prefer to purchase something specific is to get us some gear from our wishlist (a new window will open): aerospacenews.com/wishlist

We invite the photographers, videographers and filmmakers in our audience who’d like to have their work featured on our website, YouTube channel and Instagram account to get in touch. In case you haven’t heard we have a new program for some who are selected to get paid as well, so be sure to check that out!

There are instructions on our website at aerospacenews.com/showcase

Notice: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases you make through links on this site.