By Outer Banks Voice on April 18, 2021
NASA’s attempt at the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet — one that carries a tangible reminder of the Wright Brothers historic flight more than a century earlier— may happen as early as Monday, April 19. According to the space agency, it is targeting that day for the first flight of its Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at approximately 3:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 a.m. PDT).
Data from the first flight will return to Earth a few hours following the autonomous flight. A livestream will begin at 6:15 a.m. EDT (3:15 a.m. PDT), as the helicopter team prepares to receive the data downlink in the Space Flight Operations Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Watch on NASA Television, the agency app, website, and social media platforms, including YouTube and Facebook. If the flight takes place April 19, a postflight briefing will be held at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT).
On that flight, the Ingenuity will carry with it small amount of the material that covered one of the wings of the Wright Brothers’ aircraft, known as the Flyer. An insulative tape was used to wrap the small swatch of fabric around a cable located underneath the helicopter’s solar panel. The Wrights used the same type of material – an unbleached muslin called “Pride of the West” – to cover their glider and aircraft wings beginning in 1901.