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NASA sets April 11 tentative launch date for inaugural flight of Mars Rover helicopter

Washington: The Ingenuity helicopter that flew to Mars on the belly of the Perseverance Rover will tentatively attempt to begin flying on April 11, NASA said on Tuesday.

“The rover will provide support during flight operations, taking images, collecting environmental data, and hosting the base station that enables the helicopter to communicate with mission controllers on Earth,” NASA said in a press release.

The space agency plans to announce results of what would be the first-ever attempt at a powered, controlled flight on another planet with a televised webcast at 3:30 a.m. EDT (7:30 a.m. GMT) on Monday, the release said.

The release cautioned that the flight date may shift as engineers work on the deployments, preflight checks, and vehicle positioning of both the Perseverance and Ingenuity rovers, which will monitor, photograph and collect data from the helicopter.

Ingenuity arrived at Mars’ Jezero Crater attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which completed a nearly flawless landing on the Red Planet on February 18.

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