NASA to Attempt First Controlled Flight on Mars As Soon As Monday

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — NASA is targeting no earlier than Monday, April 19, for the first flight of its…

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — NASA is targeting no earlier than Monday, April 19, for the first flight of its Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at approximately 3:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 a.m. PDT).

Data from the first flight will return to Earth a few hours following the autonomous flight. A livestream will begin at 6:15 a.m. EDT (3:15 a.m. PDT), as the helicopter team prepares to receive the data downlink in the Space Flight Operations Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Watch on NASA Television, the agency app, website, and social media platforms, including YouTube and Facebook.

If the flight takes place April 19, a postflight briefing will be held at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT).

The participants are:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
  • Michael Watkins, JPL director
  • MiMi Aung, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter project manager at JPL
  • Bob Balaram, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter chief engineer at JPL
  • Håvard Grip, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter chief pilot at JPL
  • Justin Maki, Perseverance Mars rover imaging scientist and deputy principal investigator of Mastcam-Z instrument at JPL

Members of the media who wish to participate in the briefing by telephone must provide their name and affiliation to Rexana Vizza at rexana.v.vizza@jpl.nasa.gov by 12 p.m. EDT (9 a.m. PDT) April 19. Due to operational schedules, limited interview opportunities will be available to media before the Monday flight. To request an interview, go to:

https://bit.ly/mars-landing-media

The public and media also may ask questions on social media during the livestream and briefing using #MarsHelicopter.

Find the latest schedule updates at:

https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter/#Watch-Online

The original flight date of April 11 shifted as engineers worked on preflight checks and a solution to a command sequence issue. The Perseverance rover will provide support during flight operations, taking images, collecting environmental data, and hosting the base station that enables the helicopter to communicate with mission controllers on Earth.

This technology demonstration is supported by NASA’s Science, Aeronautics Research, and Space Technology mission directorates. JPL, managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations for Ingenuity and the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.

Follow Ingenuity via the @NASA, @NASAJPL, and @NASAMars Twitter accounts; NASA and NASAPersevere Facebook accounts; and NASA Instagram account.

An Ingenuity press kit is available at:

https://go.nasa.gov/ingenuity-press-kit

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SOURCE NASA