With Flight 17, Ingenuity continues its journey back to Wright Brothers Field at the Octavia E. Butler landing site. Flight 17 is the third flight of this journey and is scheduled to take place no earlier than Sunday, Dec. 5 with the data arriving back on Earth no earlier than later that same day.
Flight 17 is approximately half of Flight 9 in reverse, which was one of the most challenging flights for Ingenuity to date. The crossing of the “Seitah” region of Mars’ Jezero Crater will take at least two flights, with a stop halfway across. This stop is necessary for two reasons.
Ingenuity’s reduced flight time, because of higher rotor RPMs, means that Ingenuity would need to fly faster to cover the same distance. Flying faster increases the navigation uncertainty built up during a flight, which means larger landing ellipses are required. By flying slower, Ingenuity can better target a landing site in South Seitah.
The second reason is that the terrain on the eastern side of South Seitah is more hazardous than the western side. During flight 9, we knew Ingenuity would have a larger uncertainty in the landing location, but that was acceptable since the area was relatively benign. This is not the case this time around. With two flights, Ingenuity can better target safe landing sites on the eastern side of Seitah, without excessive risk on landing.
During Flight 17, Ingenuity is expected to fly 187 meters at an altitude of 10 meters and be airborne for 117 seconds.
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Mars helicopter Ingenuity completes 16th flight
Washington DC (UPI) Nov 22, 2021
NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity completed its 16th flight over the weekend, the space agency announced Monday.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the helicopter captured color images of Mars’ surface during the flight, which saw it travel 116 meters northeast for 109 seconds.
“Mars helicopter continues to thrive!” the lab wrote on Twitter.
The 16th flight over seven months far exceeds NASA’s original plans to send the helicopter on just five flights in 30 days on Mars.
… read more