Today, April 16, on the 154th anniversary of Wilbur Wright’s birth, the Ingenuity flight team received information that the helicopter was able to complete a rapid spin test. The completion of the full-speed spin is an important milestone on the path to flight as the team continues to work on the command sequence issue identified on Sol 49 (April 9).
How did we get to this milestone? As with any engineering challenge, there are multiple approaches that are considered. In this case, the team has been working two potential solutions in parallel. The approach that led to today's successful spin test entailed adding a few commands to the flight sequence. 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. Validation and testing have taken several days, and transfer and loading of these new files will take several more.