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NASA again delays first flight of Mars helicopter




Washington: NASA has again decided to delay the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s first experimental flight due to technical concerns.

The US space agency, which is yet to declare a new date for the attempt, earlier rescheduled the flight after a test completed earlier than planned.

The Ingenuity team has now identified a software solution for the command sequence issue identified during a planned high-speed spin-up test of the helicopter’s rotors.

“Over the weekend, the team considered and tested multiple potential solutions to this issue, concluding that minor modification and reinstallation of Ingenuity’s flight control software is the most robust path forward,” NASA said in a statement this week.

This software update will modify the process by which the two flight controllers boot up, allowing the hardware and software to safely transition to the flight state, it added.

“Once we have passed these milestones, we will prepare Ingenuity for its first flight, which will take several sols, or Mars days,” NASA said.

“Our best estimate of a targeted flight date is fluid right now, but we are working toward achieving these milestones and will set a flight date next week,” it added.

NASA said that Ingenuity continues to be healthy on the surface on Mars and critical functions such as power, communications, and thermal control are stable.

The Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity, is a technology demonstration to test powered flight on another world for the first time. It hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover, which made a February 18 touch down on the Red Planet.

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