Military

AeroVironment Collaborating with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Construct First Drone – the Mars Helicopter – to Fly on Mars

• New house endeavor attracts on firm’s distinctive and numerous historical past of innovation and high-altitude drone flight expertise

• Drone prototypes have handed rigorous assessments in simulated Mars environment

• Closing Mars-bound helicopter now in manufacturing at JPL

MONROVIA, Calif., July 3, 2018 – What does an organization do when its trailblazing and numerous improvements for almost half a century have redefined how the world drives and flies?  When its many technological “firsts” embody the primary sensible electrical automobile, flying the Nano Hummingbird drone, record-setting, solar-powered plane flights in close to house, and reshaping the battlefield with transportable, hand-held, tactical drones and loitering munitions?

It takes on one other world.

At a briefing held Wednesday at New York Metropolis’s NASDAQ Marketsite, AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) revealed its vital function in collaborating with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA/JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. to construct the drone helicopter just lately chosen by NASA/JPL’s Mars Exploration Program, and displayed a mannequin of the Mars Helicopter, which is deliberate to fly on Mars in lower than three years.

“AeroVironment’s deep, wealthy and numerous historical past of innovation mixed with our expertise with near-space plane like Pathfinder and Helios make us uniquely suited to collaborate with NASA and JPL on this historic, interplanetary enterprise,” stated AeroVironment President and Chief Government Officer Wahid Nawabi.

Flying at almost 100,00Zero ft on Earth is very similar to flying on the floor of Mars – identical air density – so AeroVironment used airfoil design ideas and simulation instruments the expertise firm realized from report high-altitude flights and integrated them into the Mars helicopter design.

“The Mars Helicopter effort additionally advantages from the ultra-lightweight and ultra-high-precision strategies integral to our nano tasks which were developed in our MacCready Works laboratory, the place we’ve assembled a devoted crew of the business’s brightest and most skilled thinkers to resolve a few of at the moment’s biggest technological challenges,” Nawabi stated.

AeroVironment first developed subscale Mars helicopter prototypes to check and exhibit the feasibility of raise within the skinny Martian environment.  Then in Might 2016, AeroVironment delivered to NASA/JPL a Mars Helicopter rotor and touchdown gear prototype that was built-in with a JPL-developed controller and demonstrated free flight in a simulated Mars environment, proving that it’s potential to fly on the Purple Planet.  Subsequent, AeroVironment delivered main helicopter subsystems within the fall of 2017 for integration into Mars-representative engineering growth fashions.  JPL constructed two Engineering Growth Mannequin Mars Helicopters, integrating the AeroVironment rotor, touchdown gear, fuselage shell and photo voltaic panel substrate along with JPL-developed fuselage composed of flight avionics, onboard energy, telecom, flight management and sensors into two fashions.

One of many growth fashions was used for flight demonstration in JPL’s giant 25-foot house simulator, and the opposite for environmental testing, together with thermal assessments to make sure the automobile can endure the frigid Mars nights, and vibration assessments to verify it’s rugged sufficient to outlive launch.  Each automobiles handed the rigorous assessments, paving the best way for the event and fabrication of the ultimate, Mars-bound model.

AeroVironment is at present constructing the flight variations of their subsystems which will likely be built-in with different subsystems into the automobile that JPL is constructing. The plan is for JPL to then set up the completed Mars Helicopter into the Mars 2020 rover for its trip to a Martian touchdown website, nonetheless to be decided.

The Mars Helicopter undertaking is led by NASA JPL with crew members throughout JPL, AeroVironment, NASA Ames and NASA Langley. The AeroVironment crew has labored intently with NASA rotorcraft specialists on the NASA Ames and Langley analysis facilities and with JPL electrical, mechanical, supplies, automobile flight controls, and techniques engineers. AeroVironment’s contributions to the primary Mars drone embody design and growth of the helicopter’s airframe and main subsystems, together with its rotor, rotor blades, hub and management mechanism {hardware}. The corporate additionally developed and constructed high-efficiency, light-weight propulsion motors, energy electronics, touchdown gear, load-bearing buildings, and the thermal enclosure for NASA/JPL’s avionics, sensors, and software program techniques.

The press briefing featured high-impact visuals and fashions of a lot of AeroVironment’s improvements, together with the Snipe™ nano drone – the newest tactical UAS innovation from AeroVironment that gives at the moment’s defenders with vital info each time and wherever it’s wanted – and the Switchblade® Deadly Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS).  AeroVironment just lately acquired Switchblade orders from the U.S. Military and U.S. Marines Corps by means of Pressing Wants Statements.

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