Software issue delays Ingenuity Mars helicopter’s first flight – SpaceFlight Insider

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen with its rotor blades unlocked. It's first flight has been delayed by at least a week because of a software issue that cropped up during a spin-up test of its rotors. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Ingenuity is seen with its rotor blades unlocked. It’s first flight has been delayed by at the very least per week due to a software program subject that cropped up throughout a spin-up check of its rotors. Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Historical past must wait just a bit bit longer as the primary flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars has been delayed by at the very least per week whereas engineers replace the craft’s software program.

Since its onto the Martian floor from beneath Perseverance on April 3, 2021, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California have been progressively Ingenuity’s techniques. This began together with unlocking the automobiles rotors after which progressively spinning them up starting with 50 rotations per minute.

The ultimate check earlier than the primary flight was to be a spin up of the rotors to about 2,400 rotations per minute. This check occurred on April 9, however in response to a JPL mission standing replace, the 1.8-kilogram helicopter’s “watchdog timer” registered off-nominal readings from the system that drives the aircrafts motor.

“This occurred because it was making an attempt to transition the flight laptop from ‘Pre-Flight’ to ‘Flight’ mode,” the mission update continues. “The helicopter is protected and wholesome and communicated its full telemetry set to .”

Whereas the {hardware} itself is wholesome, the software program elements of the helicopter’s flight system must be modified and reinstalled on Ingenuity earlier than it may possibly take flight.

“Over the weekend, the workforce thought-about and examined a number of potential options to this subject, concluding that minor modification and reinstallation of Ingenuity’s flight management software program is probably the most strong path ahead,” an April 12 JPL mission replace mentioned. “This software program replace will modify the method by which the 2 flight controllers boot up, permitting the {hardware} and software program to securely transition to the flight state.

Uplinking and verifying the software program is anticipated to take “a while,” nonetheless. As such, a brand new goal date for the primary flight of Ingenuity is presently not expected until sometime next week, pending the profitable set up and testing of the modified flight software program.

The Ingenuity helicopter is a know-how demonstration with as much as 5 flights deliberate over a roughly 30-day interval following its deployment on the floor.

Tagged: Ingenuity Jet Propulsion Laboratory Lead Tales Mars Mars 2020 Perseverance

Cullen Desforges

Having a life-long curiosity in crewed house flight, Desforges’ ardour materialized on a household trip in 1999 when he was ready see the launch of Area Shuttle Discovery on STS-96. Since then, Desforges has been an fanatic of house exploration efforts. He lived in Orlando, Florida for a yr, throughout which period he had the chance to witness the flights of the historic CRS-Four and EFT-1 missions in individual at Cape Canaveral. He earned his Personal Pilot Certificates in 2017, holds a level in Aviation Administration, and presently works as an Operations Analyst within the aviation business in Georgia.

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