NASA reschedules first flight of the Mars helicopter Ingenuity

NASA reschedules first flight of the Mars helicopter Ingenuity

NASA now intends to make an attempt at a first flight of the Mars helicopter Ingenuity in early April 19. This is subsequently after discovering a workaround to a software glitch that postponed the flight prior to this month.

On 17th April, the agency releases that the following details of the first flight
  • Weight is a 1.8-kilogram helicopter
  • Take-off to take place at 3:31 a.m. Eastern.
  • Pictures and other statistics will arrive back on Earth beginning at about 6:15 a.m. Eastern

The flight was formerly planned to take place on April 11 but was delayed after a final preflight test. At the test, the helicopter’s rovers are turned up to full pace which needs an abort. This is because a “watchdog” device terminates. That time oversees the control system and halts the test if there is trouble.

MiMi Aung is the project manager for Ingenuity at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. On April 17 MiMi mentions in a blog post that engineers assess two methodologies for resolving the crisis.

The two approaches are as follows:
  1. Update the helicopter’s flight software –

This process is comparatively simple but involves several days of testing on Earth. After which it takes several days to install and put to the test on Ingenuity.

  1. To alter the timing of commands –

This approach is taken up by the project. There are field tests and also permit Ingenuity to perform a high-speed rotor test. The same test includes an abort by the watchdog timer trouble.

“This resolution is the slightest disruptive to a helicopter that, up till we find the watchdog issue, has been acting just as we anticipate,” she wrote. “It is the simplest since we do not have to alter its composition.”

Adapting the command sequence would permit Ingenuity to change into flight mode 85% of the time. “We also understand that if the first effort does not work on Monday, we can attempt these controls again. This is with a good possibility that ensuing attempts in the days after would function even if the first does not,” she writes. “For these motives, we have chosen to follow this route.”

The mission expects to execute as many as five flights of Ingenuity over a 31-day test operation. This is with the first flight merely getting to an elevation of three meters, flying, and then landing. Later on, flights will be more magnificent, going up to five meters and moving tens of meters downrange and back.


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