Engineers on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena are at the moment working on a venture to construct the primary drone helicopter that can fly on Mars in lower than three years.
In collaboration with AeroVironment Inc., a Monrovia-based firm which focuses on unmanned plane techniques and tactical missile techniques, JPL has constructed two Engineering Development Model Mars Helicopters which have each handed rigorous exams, paving the way in which for the event and fabrication of a last, Mars-bound model.
Mars Helicopter integrates a rotor, touchdown gear, fuselage shell and photo voltaic panel substrate manufactured by AeroVironment Inc. with a JPL-developed fuselage composed of flight avionics, onboard energy, telecom, flight management and sensors. When a last model is prepared, it’ll show the viability and potential of heavier-than-air autos on the Red Planet.
One of the fashions was used for flight demonstration in JPL’s giant 25-foot area simulator, and the opposite for environmental testing – together with thermal exams to make sure the car can endure the frigid Mars nights, and vibration exams to ensure that it’s rugged sufficient to survive launch.
AeroVironment is at the moment constructing the flight variations of their subsystems which will likely be built-in with different subsystems into the car that JPL is constructing, in accordance to an AeroVironment press launch. The plan is for JPL to then set up the completed Mars Helicopter into the Mars 2020 rover for its trip to a Martian touchdown web site that also has to be decided.
Mars 2020 is at the moment scheduled to launch in July 2020. It is anticipated to attain Mars in February 2021.
“NASA has a proud history of firsts,” mentioned NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine mentioned in May as JPL examined the fashions. “The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling. The Mars Helicopter holds much promise for our future science, discovery, and exploration missions to Mars.”
“AeroVironment’s deep, rich and diverse history of innovation combined with our experience with near-space aircraft like Pathfinder and Helios make us uniquely suited to collaborate with NASA and JPL on this historic, interplanetary venture,” mentioned AeroVironment President and Chief Executive Officer Wahid Nawabi.
The firm first developed subscale Mars helicopter prototypes to take a look at and show the feasibility of elevate within the skinny Martian ambiance. In May 2016, AeroVironment delivered a Mars Helicopter rotor and touchdown gear prototype to JPL, which was built-in with a JPL-developed controller.
JPL demonstrated free flight in a simulated Mars ambiance, proving that it’s doable to fly on the Red Planet.
In the autumn of 2017, AeroVironment delivered main helicopter subsystems, which JPL built-in into their Mars-representative engineering improvement fashions.
The Mars Helicopter venture is led by NASA JPL with staff members throughout JPL, AeroVironment, NASA Ames and NASA Langley.