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AeroVironment celebrates historic first powered flight on another world by Mars Ingenuity Helicopter

AeroVironment, a developer of unmanned aircraft systems, celebrated with its colleagues at NASA/JPL when data confirming the Ingenuity Helicopter’s successful first flight on Mars arrived at approximately 3.50 am PT on April 19.

Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment president and CEO, says: “AeroVironment is proud to have played a key role in developing the Mars Ingenuity Helicopter and achieving today’s historic first powered flight on another planet.

“We congratulate JPL and NASA on today’s achievement and salute their leadership and vision for deploying unmanned technology to further our understanding of other worlds.”

Since 2013, the AeroVironment team has worked closely with NASA rotorcraft experts and with JPL electrical, mechanical, materials, vehicle flight controls, and systems engineers on the Mars Ingenuity Helicopter project.

AeroVironment’s contributions to Ingenuity include the design and development of the helicopter’s airframe and major subsystems, including its rotor, rotor blades, hub and control mechanism hardware.

AeroVironment also developed and built high-efficiency, lightweight propulsion motors, power electronics, landing gear, load-bearing structures, and the thermal enclosure for NASA/JPL’s avionics, sensors, and software systems.

Nawabi says: “AeroVironment’s deep, rich and diverse history of designing reliable and effective unmanned solutions that deliver mission success in extreme environments, combined with our experience with near-space aircraft, make us uniquely suited to collaborate with NASA and JPL.

“We also incorporated the ultra-lightweight and ultra-high-precision methods integral to Nano projects that have been developed in our MacCready Works Advance Solutions laboratory, where we’ve assembled a dedicated team of the industry’s brightest and most experienced engineers to solve some of today’s greatest technological challenges.”

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