Mars Helicopter Ingenuity completes high-speed spin test after last week’s complications

After delays in the first flight of Ingenuity due to a failure to complete the first high-speed spin test, Ingenuity may be back on track. NASA shared today that Ingenuity has successfully completed a high-speed spin test; an important test before the first flight.

During the first test, a software-related error of some sort occurred, resulting in a watchdog timer being triggered. These watchdog timers act as failsafes to return devices to a known good condition if an error occurs. In today’s status update NASA shared that after simultaneously working two separate possible solutions, a few commands were able to be added to the flight sequence to address the issue that affected the previous test.

“This approach was tested extensively on both Earth and Mars, and was performed without jeopardizing the safety of the helicopter. A second approach requires minor modification and reinstallation of Ingenuity’s flight control software. The software swap is a straightforward fix to a known issue. But, it will take a bit longer to perform and is a modification to software that has remained stable and unchanged for close to two years.”

The teams are working to determine the what the ideal path toward flight is, and will update the blog tomorrow morning if they are able to determine a flight date.

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