Sunday, April 11, 2021

NASA's Mars Helicopter Ingenuity's historic flight delayed

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter is scheduled to lift off no sooner than April 14 in the first-ever attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet, a delay from its initial planned launch date.

While lift-off was initially targeted for Sunday, April 11, the agency announced the delay on Saturday afternoon.

 In a release, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) explained that the decision was made based on data that arrived late Friday night.

"During a high-speed spin test of the rotors on Friday, the command sequence controlling the test ended early due to a 'watchdog' timer expiration. This occurred as it was trying to transition the flight computer from ‘Pre-Flight’ to ‘Flight’ mode," they explained. "The helicopter is safe and healthy and communicated its full telemetry set to Earth."

The watchdog timer oversees the command sequence and alerts to any potential problems. It also helps the system stay safe by not proceeding if an issue is observed.

"The helicopter team is reviewing telemetry to diagnose and understand the issue. Following that, they will reschedule the full-speed test," they said

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