Inside The Ingenuity Helicopter: Teamwork on Mars

July 08, 2021

April 19th saw what some have christened “a second Wright Brothers moment”—namely, the successful first powered controlled flight by an aircraft on another world. Reaching Mars on the underside of the Perseverance rover, the tiny, autonomous Mars Ingenuity Helicopter (5.4" x 7.7" x 6.4") spun its 4-foot rotors and hovered 10 feet off the ground for 30 seconds. By its third flight, a few days later, Ingenuity would rise 16 feet (5 meters) up, and fly 164 feet (50 meters) at a top speed of 6.6 ft/sec (2 m/sec). Back in 1903, the Wright Brothers logged 120 feet to complete the first controlled heavier-than-air powered flight. Now, squaring that circle, Ingenuity carries a piece of fab-ric from the Wright Flyer’s wing, and its flight site is called Wright Brothers Field.

Six weeks and six flights into its mission as we write, Ingenuity has demonstrated the ability to fly on a planet more than 170 million miles from earth in an atmosphere 1% as thick as ours. The near-miniature ve-hicle has proved to be an intrepid explorer even as it’s survived a computer anomaly on its most recent mission. Talk about punching above your weight.

About AeroVironment, Inc. (AV)

AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) provides technology solutions at the intersection of robotics, sensors, software analytics and connectivity that deliver more actionable intelligence so you can Proceed with Certainty. Headquartered in Virginia, AeroVironment is a global leader in intelligent, multi-domain robotic systems and serves defense, government and commercial customers. For more information, visit

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AeroVironment, Inc.
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