Ingenuity helicopter makes history with first flight

An aircraft has made a powered, controlled flight over the surface of another planet for the first time.

The historic moment happened at about 8.30am BST this morning (19 April), when NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took off from the Jezero Crater on Mars. The 1.8kg rotorcraft ascended to 3m above the surface, where it was expected to remain for about 40 seconds.

Engineers and mission control specialists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California cheered and applauded as the first flight data was received at 11.50am. Flight control confirmed the aircraft had completed all stages of flight, including spin-up, take-off, hover, descent and landing. Altimeter data clearly showed the craft’s ascent, hover and descent, while a black and white image showed the craft’s shadow on the surface.

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