NASA’s Mars Helicopter Begins Deployment Phase Written 31 March 2021


Artist’s concept of the Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, slated to launch on NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission in July 2020. | NASA/JPL-Caltech

Spaceflight Now reports that NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter “is being lowered from the belly of the Perseverance rover this week as ground teams run through a choreographed long-distance command sequence to safely release the $80 million rotorcraft onto the surface of Mars.” The deployment “is projected to take around six days, assuming everything goes as planned. The first command uplinked from engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was to release a launch lock that kept the Ingenuity helicopter firmly attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover during the journey to Mars.” The deployment “sequence continued Tuesday to extend the helicopter’s other two landing legs. At that point, the helicopter remained attached to the rover by a single bolt and a couple of tiny electrical connectors, according to NASA.” 
Full Story (Spaceflight Now)