Editor's Choice


Mars helicopter makes history

Second Quarter 2021 Editor's Choice

Space fans are thrilled. NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has successfully completed its first pioneering flight on Mars.

This is the first time in the history of powered, unmanned spaceflight that a device has flown in a controlled manner on another planet – with the help of DC motors from maxon motor. The helicopter flew over the surface of the Red Planet for about 40 seconds on April 19 and landed back on four legs. This is an historic event on par with the Wright brothers’ first controlled flight in 1903. Ingenuity is completing several flight units over a period of 30 days, lasting up to 90 seconds and bringing it to a maximum altitude of five metres.

The helicopter is equipped with six brushed DC motors from maxon motor, which have been specifically modified for this challenge. The DCX series of drives, with diameters of 10 mm, control the pitch of the rotor blades and therefore the course of the helicopter, which weighs only 1,8 kg and is solar powered. The lightweight design is a prerequisite for a successful flight on the Red Planet, where there is hardly any atmosphere, making conditions similar to those at an altitude of 30 km on Earth. maxon’s drives are also used in the Perseverance Rover. Ten BLDC motors and a special gearbox will handle the soil samples inside the Rover. The first of these motors has already successfully completed its task. It placed the Mars helicopter safely on the ground on February 18.

For more information contact Hans Burri, DNH Tradeserve, +27 11 468 2722hans.burri@dnhtrade.co.zawww.dnhtrade.co.za


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