Science/Tech

NASA's Mars Helicopter Finishes Preparations Before July Launch

As per the latest release by American space agency NASA, the experimental helicopter that will be taken to Mars as part of its next mission has just spun its blades on Earth for the last time after the work put into has just been finalized. All that’s left to do, is takeoff.

Experimental Helicopter

Per the space agency, the Mars Helicopter, as it’s called, is scheduled to launch come July on the new Mars rover as an add-on project to the uncoming 2020 Mars mission. As such, NASA is focused on meeting all of the needs of the coming launch date, despite continuing closures that came as a result of the worsening global virus pandemic.

Currently, all of the components that are needed for the new mission are going through their final prelaunch tests, held at the agency’s own Kennedy Space Center located in Florida. One of these components include the cruise stage vehicle, which finished a test to confirm its mass properties just recently, as per NASA.

The highlight, however, are the recent tests made on the helicopter’s blades, which includes spinning the blades for the last time before it goes forward and launches into space on the new mission. Per the statement, the tests were good since the blades were able to reach more or less 50 rotations per minute in the testing airlock. If the plan goes ahead without any hitch and setbacks, NASA said that the helicopter’s blades will be able to spin for the first time in Mars come 2021, after the mission it was sent with touches down on the red planet’s grounds on February next year.

According to NASA, meeting this planned summer launch window is one of the agency’s biggest priorities as of the moment, despite some of its offices temporarily closing down and relegating its employees to work from their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic. This is because if NASA doesn’t reach the summer window, it will have to wait two years before an attempt can be made again, due to the fact that the alignment between Mars and our planet is tricky.

The NASA Space Launch System (SLS) Even space agencies like NASA and the ESA have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. NASA

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