With conjunction over and our first flight at 2,700 RPM behind us, Ingenuity is ready to begin the journey back to the Wright Brothers Field at the Octavia E. Butler landing site, before venturing beyond. The above figure depicts the mission ahead of Ingenuity, which is to join Perseverance in the trek north along the east edge of Séítah, before traveling west to reach the Jezero ancient river delta. To accomplish this feat, the Ingenuity team is planning a series of 4-7 flights to return to Wright Brothers Field. Along the way the project is considering preparing a flight software upgrade for our helicopter which will potentially enable new navigation capabilities onboard, and better prepare Ingenuity for the challenges ahead.
Flight #15 is the start of our journey back to Wright Brothers Field. Taking place no earlier than Saturday, November 6 at 9:22 a.m. PT, or 12:03 LMST (local Mars time), the 254th sol (Martian day) of the Perseverance mission, Flight #15 will return Ingenuity back to the Raised Ridges region, imaged in Flight #10. In this flight the helicopter will traverse 1,332 feet (406 meters) during 130 seconds of flight, traveling at 11.1 mph (5 mps) groundspeed. We’ll capture color return-to-earth (RTE) high resolution (13MP) images, one post-takeoff pointed to the SW, and nine pointed toward the NW along the flight-path. Nominal altitude for the flight is expected to be 39.3 feet (12 meters) above ground level.
This will be the second flight of Ingenuity during Mars’ summer low air-density, requiring that the rotor blades are spun at 2,700 RPM to compensate. This flight will generate critical high-RPM motor performance, which the team will use to design and tailor upcoming low-density flights in the months ahead.
Below is an updated ledger of some of the most important numbers for Ingenuity’s Mars flights so far. Along with those listed below, we’ve taken 83 13-megapixel color images, 1,772 black-and-white navigation camera images, and performed two flight software upgrades along the way.
(April 3, 2021/Sol 43)
|In Tech Demo||In Ops Demo||% Above Tech Demo|
(as of last Heli downlink)
|Distance Flown (m)||2883 m
|499 m||2384 m||477%|
|Time Flown (s)||1492 s (24 min 52 s)||396 s||1096 s||276%|
Written by Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity Team Lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.