By NASA // August 8, 2023
first flight because the helicopter minimize its July 22 flight quick
(NASA) – NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter efficiently accomplished its 54th flight on Aug. 3, the primary flight because the helicopter minimize its July 22 flight quick.
The 25-second up-and-down hop supplied knowledge that would assist the Ingenuity staff decide why its 53rd flight ended early.
Flight 53 was deliberate as a 136-second scouting flight devoted to amassing imagery of the planet’s floor for the Perseverance Mars rover science staff.
The difficult flight profile included flying north 666 toes (203 meters) at an altitude of 16 toes (5 meters) and a velocity of 5.6 mph (2.5 meters per second), then descending vertically to eight toes (2.5 meters), the place it will hover and acquire imagery of a rocky outcrop.
Ingenuity would then climb straight as much as 33 toes (10 meters) to permit its hazard divert system to provoke earlier than descending vertically to the touch down.
As an alternative, the helicopter executed the primary half of its autonomous journey, flying north at an altitude of 16 toes (5 meters) for 466 toes (142 meters).
Then a flight-contingency program was triggered, and Ingenuity robotically landed. The entire flight time was 74 seconds.
“For the reason that very first flight we’ve included a program referred to as ‘LAND_NOW’ that was designed to place the helicopter on the floor as quickly as potential if anybody of some dozen off-nominal situations was encountered,” mentioned Teddy Tzanetos, staff lead emeritus for Ingenuity at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “Throughout Flight 53, we encountered one in every of these, and the helicopter labored as deliberate and executed a right away touchdown.”
The Ingenuity staff is assured that the early touchdown was triggered when picture frames from the helicopter’s navigation digital camera didn’t sync up as anticipated with knowledge from the rotorcraft’s inertial measurement unit.
The unit measures Ingenuity’s acceleration and rotational charges – knowledge that makes it potential to estimate the place the helicopter is, how briskly it’s shifting, and the way it’s oriented in house.
This was not the primary event on which picture frames have been dropped by the helicopter’s Navcam throughout a flight. Again on Could 22, 2021, a number of picture frames have been dropped, leading to extreme pitching and rolling close to the top of Flight 6.
After Flight 6, the staff up to date the flight software program to assist mitigate the influence of dropped pictures, and the repair labored nicely for the next 46 flights. Nevertheless, on Flight 53 the amount of dropped navigation pictures exceeded what the software program patch permits.
“Whereas we hoped to by no means set off a LAND_NOW, this flight is a worthwhile case examine that can profit future plane working on different worlds,” mentioned Tzanetos. “The staff is working to raised perceive what occurred in Flight 53, and with Flight 54’s success we’re assured that our child is able to hold hovering forward on Mars.”
Extra About Ingenuity
Ingenuity started its life at Mars as a expertise demonstration. It first flew on April 19, 2021, hovering 10 toes (3 meters) for 30 seconds. 4 extra flights in as many weeks added 499 seconds and noticed the helicopter flying horizontally over the floor for 1,171 toes (357 meters). After proving flight was potential on Mars, Ingenuity entered an operations demonstration section in Could 2021 to point out how aerial scouting may benefit future exploration of Mars and different worlds.
The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was constructed by JPL, which additionally manages the undertaking for NASA Headquarters. It’s supported by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. NASA’s Ames Analysis Middle in California’s Silicon Valley and NASA’s Langley Analysis Middle in Hampton, Virginia, supplied vital flight efficiency evaluation and technical help throughout Ingenuity’s growth. AeroVironment Inc., Qualcomm, and SolAero additionally supplied design help and main automobile elements. Lockheed House designed and manufactured the Mars Helicopter Supply System.