ORLANDO — NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter efficiently made its second flight on Mars April 22, increasing its flight envelope because the mission considers extra formidable exams within the coming days.
Ingenuity took off at 5:33 a.m. Jap on the 51.9-second flight, though controllers on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory waited almost 4 hours earlier than telemetry and pictures from the flight had been returned to Earth. That information confirmed that the 1.8-kilogram helicopter carried out as anticipated on that flight.
“To date, the engineering telemetry we’ve got acquired and analyzed inform us that the flight met expectations and our prior laptop modeling has been correct,” Bob Balaram, chief engineer for Ingenuity, mentioned in a NASA assertion.
This flight occurred three days after Ingenuity’s profitable first flight, when the helicopter rose to an altitude of three meters, hovered after which descended. On this flight, Ingenuity went to an altitude of 5 meters, then tilted barely to permit it to maneuver sideways two meters. It stopped and turned, then went again two meters and descended to a protected touchdown.
“It sounds easy, however there are numerous unknowns relating to tips on how to fly a helicopter on Mars,” Håvard Grip, chief pilot for Ingenuity at JPL, mentioned within the NASA assertion. “That’s why we’re right here: to make these unknowns recognized.”
The flight is the second in a collection of as much as 5 that the mission plans to carry out. On the April 19 briefing after the primary flight, MiMi Aung, Ingenuity mission supervisor, mentioned the third flight could be just like the second, however would have the helicopter transfer 50 meters sideways and again, fairly than the 2 meters of this flight.
Venture officers mentioned at that briefing the plans for the fourth and fifth flights had been nonetheless to be decided. “Generally phrases, what we’re speaking about goes larger, going additional, going quicker; stretching the capabilities of the helicopter in these methods,” Grip mentioned. As a result of Ingenuity is a know-how demonstration, the mission is keen to take dangers that would outcome within the lack of the helicopter.
NASA mentioned within the assertion that, as a result of Ingenuity flew as anticipated on its first two flights, “the Ingenuity crew is contemplating how greatest to develop the profiles of its subsequent flights to accumulate further aeronautical information from the primary profitable flight exams on one other world.”
NASA didn’t disclose when the subsequent flight is scheduled, however mission officers beforehand mentioned they anticipated to aim flights each three to 4 days. They’re additionally constrained by the schedule the general Mars 2020 mission set for Ingenuity, reserving one month for the Ingenuity check marketing campaign. This flight occurred on the 18th sol, or Martian day, of that 30-sol check interval.