The engineering team behind the Ingenuity helicopter’s daring flights has received a prestigious award for the aircraft’s groundbreaking achievements on Mars. The helicopter made history in April 2021, when it became the first heavier-than-air aircraft to make a controlled flight on another planet. In recognition of its success, the National Aeronautics Association presented the NASA team with the Collier Trophy award at a ceremony in Washington, DC.
The trophy is awarded annually for “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in terms of improving the characteristics, efficiency and safety of aircraft or spacecraft.”
Yesterday, the #MarsHelicopter team accepted the prestigious Collier Trophy, awarded by the National Aeronautic Association for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America.
Please help us congratulate the Ingenuity team! ???? pic.twitter.com/rEM5Uh1XQC
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) June 10, 2022
“Almost every step led us to uncharted territory. Many did not believe that we would even be able to take to the air. The Collier Trophy is a great honor for us. I am proud of everyone who worked so hard to realize this idea,” commented Teddy Tsanetos, head of the NASA Ingenuity group.
Ingenuity exceeded all expectations
After its first flight to Mars more than a year ago, Ingenuity was expected to make only five flights as part of a technology demonstration. But it performed so well during its first missions that the team was able to continue their work. To date, the Martian helicopter has made 28 successful flights. Ingenuity has a height of 49 cm and 2 kg. Its record single flight to date is 709 meters, during which it reached a record speed of 19.8 km/h.
The Collier Trophy award was established more than a century ago as a way to celebrate significant achievements in the field of aviation. The recipients of this award were such outstanding personalities as Orville Wright in 1913 for developing an automatic stabilizer, test pilot Charles Yeager for breaking the sound barrier on the X-1 aircraft in 1947, as well as NASA astronauts of the Apollo lunar missions.
Earlier, NASA extended the Ingenuity mission.
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