The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California faced many challenges on their way to achieving humankind’s first powered, controlled flight on another planet. The helicopter’s first test flight was full of unknowns. The Red Planet has an extremely thin atmosphere with only 1% the pressure at the surface compared to our planet while also being home to significant gravity – one-third that of Earth. On April 19, 2021, Ingenuity climbed to its prescribed maximum altitude of 10 feet (3 meters) and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds before descending again, becoming the first ever rotorcraft to fly on another planet.
Since then, the Mars Helicopter has flown a total of seven times, transitioning from being a technology demonstration to an operations demonstration intended to explore how aerial scouting and other functions could benefit future explorations of Mars and other worlds.
The Space Foundation award will be presented Aug. 23 during the opening ceremony of the 36th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.
Recent Swigert Award winners include the InSight-Mars Cube One joint project teams, the Dawn mission, and the Cassini mission.
This Article firstly Publish on www.jpl.nasa.gov