Update: It seems today’s day. From what we know, NASA tried its Ingenuity helicopter’s first controlled flight on Mars at 3:30 a.m. ET. At 6:15 a.m. ET, NASA receives flight information. The team in mission control is visible from 6:15 a.m. ET, on the following YouTube, as well as NASA App, Web and Facebook page. You can view the results live.
NASA has also scheduled a briefing after flight at 14.00 ET.
Underneath is the original article.
The first controlled flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars: Monday 19 April, NASA announced a new date to the public. This is the third time that the flight of Ingenuity has been rescheduled and maybe the real deal with some luck.
The space agency announcing on Saturday that Ingenuity is attempting its first flight on Monday at around 3:30 a.m. ET with a small 4-pound (1,8 kilogram) helicopter. The new date follows two attempts that were delayed due to preflight checks and the problem of the command sequence which occurred on April 9, when its rotors were tested at high speed. On that day, the test ended early because the flight computer was “watching dog” due to an expiration of the time, NASA explained.
The watchdog timer of Ingenuity monitors the control sequence of the helicopter and warns the system if there are possible problems. When there’s a problem, “helping the system to remain safe,” the watchdog-timer does not work. The completion of the spin test represents an important milestone on the flight route of Ingenuity.
The flight team of Ingenuity has worked in recent days on solving this problem. One was to add a few controls to the flight sequence of the helicopter while the other consisted of modifying and reinstalling the control software for the helicopter. The full-speed spin test which Ingenuity had not completed on April 9, was carried out successfully on Friday.
The team used the flight sequence solution to conduct the spin test. The approach was extensively tried both on Earth and Mars, according to a status update on Friday by the flight team, and carried out without compromising the safety of Ingenuity. The team however stated that the solution for the first flight of Ingenuity was still not decided.
“The swap software is an easy fix for a known problem,” the team wrote. “He will, however, take a little longer to work and is a stable and unchanged software modification for nearly two years.
The team said in the status update that it would meet on Friday to analyze both solutions and to decide which for the first flight of Ingenuity. On Friday, the team did not guarantee a new flight date, but it was very likely to do so by announcing NASA.
The announcement did not indicate which solution the team finally agreed to, although in the next few days we will surely find out.
If naivety succeeds, every space agency has a powerful controlled flight on another planet for the first time. Within a window of 30 Mars sols or 31 Earthdays, the small helicopter will try to make up to five test flights. Using the downward-facing camera, it takes pictures during the test flight, with grainy black and white pictures expected to be taken later, at first and later.