NASA Mars Ingenuity Wins Top Flight Award for Best New Rotorcraft
AIN is proud to announce the winner of the 2021 Top Flight Awards New Rotorcraft category: NASA’s Mars Ingenuity
On April 19, 2021, NASA’s Ingenuity unmanned helicopter became the first aircraft to fly on another planet. The aircraft has become an integral part of Mars exploration, helping scout the Red Planet in cooperation with the Perseverance rover.
Ingenuity is a four-pound, $80 million dollar coaxial helicopter designed to operate in the thinner Martian atmosphere, where gravity is 62 percent lower than Earth’s. The aircraft’s four carbon-fiber main rotor blades spin at more than 2,500 rpm—10 times faster than a conventional helicopter—and are powered by solar cells and batteries.
The rotorcraft is equipped with a camera system that can take images of the ground at a rate of 30 per second, combining with a sensor system that can adjust flight controls at a rate of 500 times per second to ensure vehicle trajectory and stability. Ingenuity was designed and built by NASA in cooperation with contractors including AeroVironment, Lockheed Martin, and SolAero.