On 4/19/2021, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter successfully executed humanity’s historic first flight on Mars. In the flights which followed, the Technology Demonstrator continued to explore the boundaries of what was aerodynamically, energetically, and operationally possible. Each flight produced rich data sets containing inertial measurements, navigation camera imagery, thermal data, environmental data, and novel aircraft performance data.
In the months that followed Ingenuity’s maiden flight, the mission evolved from a Technology Demonstration to an Operations Demonstration, in which a smaller team would be tasked with taking on more daring missions.
This talk will detail the operational mission evolution from aircraft deployment on the surface of Mars, to its most recent flight, and cover critical lessons learned for operating an extra-terrestrial rotorcraft. This paper will also summarize the scientific impacts Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has made on the Mars2020 mission and how the mission will feed into future aerial rotorcraft platforms being designed for Mars