NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter first flight on Mars delayed for software update

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The first flight of NASA’S Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, planned for Wednesday, will be delayed by another week.

8:00 p.m. Monday update:

Officials from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced Monday that the first flight of their Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will be delayed by another week.

A “high-speed” spin test of the rotors on Friday revealed an issue that forced them to target April 14 as the earliest date for the helicopter’s first experimental flight.

NASA says they’ve identified a solution to the problem that will require an update to the helicopter’s flight software. They’re now in the process of developing and up-linking the software and will set a new flight date for next week.

NASA says Ingenuity is otherwise “healthy” and ready for takeoff.

2:45 p.m. Saturday update:

NASA officials announced Saturday that a planned flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars had been delayed to next week.

The first flight is now set for no earlier than Wednesday.

A “high-speed spin test” ended early on Friday, prompting crews to observed possible issues.

NASA said Ingenuity is safe and the agency will reschedule the full-speed test.

Original report:

NASA could get a big boost in funding next year with President Joe Biden seeking $24.7 billion for the agency’s 2022 fiscal year.

That would be a more than 6% funding increase from last fiscal year.

It includes nearly $7 billion in support of human exploration of the moon, Mars and beyond.

Watch: NASA missions face delays and rising costs over COVID-19 impact

Mars will be spotlighted on Sunday, as NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter will attempt the first controlled flight on another planet.

The flight is expected to last just 30 seconds, but could change the way we explore other planets.

Ingenuity travelled 300 million miles aboard the Perseverance rover to take this flight.

This weekend, the rover’s cameras will be focused on the tiny helicopter’s historic flight.

Watch: NASA crews test fire SLS rocket planned for lunar launch on Space Coast by 2024

NASA JPL has already released photos of Ingenuity on the surface of the Red Planet as teams on Earth prepared the tiny helicopter for its first flight.

Ingenuity is also carrying a small postage size piece of material that covered one of the wings of the Wright Brothers’ aircraft, Flyer 1.

But the first controlled flight on Mars comes with a unique set of challenges.

Watch: Volcano erupts in Caribbean as thousands are evacuated from St. Vincent

Ingenuity is expected to take off from Mars’ Jezero Crater on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. local mars time, which is about 10:53 p.m. in Florida.

NASA has about 30 Martian days for this technology demonstration. But one hard landing could mean end of mission.