Mars Helicopter Breaks Silence: Resumes Communication After 63-Day Hiatus

It’s been over 60 days since NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter last made contact, but now the chopper has called home.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter completed its 52nd successful mission flight. Back on April 26th, when the trip took place, mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California lost touch with the chopper as it was preparing to land.

Because of a hill between where the helicopter landed and where the Perseverance rover was, the Ingenuity team anticipated a communications breakdown. The rover is a radio relay between the chopper and the JPL control room. 

The Ingenuity crew had prepared re-contact strategies for when the rover returned within range before the communication break occurred. 

On June 28th, after Perseverance rounded a bend and caught sight of Ingenuity, communication was restored.

In order to reposition the helicopter and get surface photographs of Mars for the rover’s science team, Flight 52 lasted for a total of 139 seconds and covered a distance of 1,191 feet (363 meters).

Read Also: Reviving Contact: NASA Restores Mars Helicopter After 9-Week Silence

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter: A Deeper Dive


It’s been 63 days since the first interplanetary voyage, but the incoming data shows that everything went smoothly. If the rest of Ingenuity’s diagnostics come back clean, we could see the chopper back in the air within the next several weeks.

Flight 53 will head to a temporary airport in the west, from which the crew will launch another flight in that direction to a new base of operations close to a rocky outcrop that the Perseverance crew hopes to investigate.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) designed and built the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, and it is also in charge of the project on behalf of NASA Headquarters. The Science Mission Directorate at NASA is providing funding for the endeavor. 

Both the Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia made substantial contributions to the development of Ingenuity. These organizations provided critical research into aircraft efficiency and technical direction. Major vehicle components and design input came from industry partners such as AeroVironment Inc., Qualcomm, and SolAero.

Design and production of the Mars Helicopter Delivery System were undertaken by Lockheed Space.

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