CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A navigation timing error despatched NASA’s little Mars helicopter on a wild, lurching experience, its first main drawback because it took to the Martian skies final month.
The experimental helicopter, named Ingenuity, managed to land safely, officers on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported Thursday.
The difficulty cropped up a couple of minute into the helicopter’s sixth take a look at flight final Saturday at an altitude of 33 ft (10 meters). One of many quite a few photos taken by an on-board digital camera didn’t register within the navigation system, throwing your entire timing sequence off and complicated the craft about its location.
Ingenuity started tilting forwards and backwards as a lot as 20 levels and suffered energy consumption spikes, in line with Havard Grip, the helicopter’s chief pilot. A built-in system to offer additional margin for stability “got here to the rescue,” he wrote in a web-based standing replace. The helicopter landed inside 16 ft (5 meters) of its meant landing website.
Ingenuity grew to become the primary plane to make a powered flight on one other planet in April, two months after touchdown on Mars with NASA’s rover Perseverance.
The Four-pound (1.Eight-kilogram) helicopter aced its first 5 flights, every another difficult than earlier than. NASA was so impressed by the $85 million tech demo that it prolonged its mission by at the least a month.
Saturday’s troubled flight was the primary for this bonus interval. Engineers have spent the previous a number of days addressing the issue.
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