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A Helicopter Ride Over Mars? NASA’s About to Give It a Shot July 28, 2020 (AV in the News) NASA plans to launch its fifth Mars rover, Perseverance, on a six-month journey to the Red Planet. Perseverance will boot up a mission to collect samples of Martian dirt that might have traces of ancient life, so that they can be returned to Earth by another mission later this decade. It will also carry a payload unlike anything that’s ever been boosted into space: a small autonomous helicopter called Ingenuity. Sometime next spring, probably in April, Ingenuity will spin up its rotor blades and become the first spacecraft to go airborne on Mars. “I see it as kind of a Wright brothers moment on another planet,” says Bob Balaram, the chief engineer for the Mars helicopter project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “It’s a high-risk, high-reward mission that could enable us to go to lots of places we haven’t been able to go before.” View More
AeroVironment Team Collaborates with NASA/JPL for Mars Helicopter Launch in July July 27, 2020 (Case Studies) It wasn't enough for AeroVironment engineers to design drones for use on Earth - they had their sights set on something even bigger. Since 2013, AeroVironment's team of innovative engineers from our MacCready Works laboratory has been working with NASA/JPL to design and develop the first Mars drone - a helicopter that will be carried by the Mars 2020 rover. Its name is Ingenuity. The rover was designed and built by NASA/JPL and was recently named Perseverance, or Percy for short. Percy is scheduled to launch in July 2020 and arrive on Mars in early 2021. The Mars helicopter is a small, autonomous rotorcraft that weighs 4 lbs. (1.8 kg). Its purpose is to demonstrate the viability of aerial robots for planetary exploration. View More
Perseverance Rover Will Include The First Helicopter To Fly On Mars July 27, 2020 (AV in the News) When NASA’s Perseverance rover lifts off from Cape Canaveral for its months-long journey to Mars, it will be packing a stowaway of sorts. Tucked securely in the craft’s underbelly will be Ingenuity, the first helicopter to fly on the red planet. Created in collaboration with Simi Valley-based AeroVironment Inc., the high-tech drone is the brainchild of Bob Balaram, a principal member of the Mobility and Robotics Systems Section at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and chief engineer on the project. View More
AeroVironment Marks 50 Years of Achieving the Impossible July 27, 2020 (Press Releases) SIMI VALLEY, Calif., July 27, 2020 – In the 1970s, AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) founder Dr. Paul B. MacCready, Jr. became the first to design and build an aircraft that successfully achieved controlled human-powered flight, giving birth to the company’s reputation of achieving the impossible in aerospace engineering. Now, as the company begins its 50th year in business, it’s preparing to break yet another barrier by enabling a first-of-its-kind mission on Mars.
AeroVironment began operations in 1971 as a small engineering firm focused on applying aerodynamic principles to solve important challenges facing the world. Since its founding, AeroVironment and its innovators have done just that. View More
We Talk Drones And The Future Of Unmanned Warfare With AeroVironment’s Steve Gitlin July 14, 2020 (AV in the News) Even though AeroVironment's products, or at least emulations of them, have starred in a number of Hollywood Blockbusters and extremely high-profile video games, few outside the defense community have ever really heard of the company. The reality is that AeroVironment is among the most fascinating and visionary aerospace companies on the planet. They saw the potential in lower-end drones that could be deployed by those on the front lines before pretty much anyone else did, and changed warfare as we know it as a result. Though its hand-launched Raven reconnaissance drone is its most widely distributed product, AeroVironment's Switchblade, which is launched like a mortar and works as both a reconnaissance drone and a deadly missile, is probably its most intriguing. Often referred to as a 'suicide drone' in informal parlance, in so many ways Switchblade was a harbinger of what was to come. View More
AeroVironment Receives $21 Million Initial Contract Option for Raven Radio Frequency Modifications Under Previously Awarded U.S. Army Contract with Potential $55 Million Total Value July 07, 2020 (Press Releases) Contract option for Army Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) Flight Control Systems (FCS) domain includes avionics and data link upgrades to modify radio frequency
Raven tactical unmanned aircraft system is designed for rapid deployment, delivering real-time tactical situational awareness to warfighters SIMI VALLEY, Calif., July 8, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), today announced the United States Army exercised the first of three options under the sole source Flight Control Systems (FCS) domain of the Army’s multi-year small UAS contract on April 28, 2020. The value of the initial contract option is $21,058,643 and includes avionics and data link upgrade packages to modify radio frequencies employed by the Army’s existing fleet of Raven® tactical UAS, the largest fleet of Raven systems in the world. Delivery will take place over a two-year period.
The Army exercised the option under the FCS domain awarded to AeroVironment by the Army in June 2019. FCS is one of six domains comprising the Army’s existing five-year Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) SUAS contract, and has a potential value of up to $55 million. View More
AeroVironment Helps the Community While Protecting the Environment June 29, 2020 (Case Studies) Are you familiar with e-waste? Can you think of how e-waste is a part of your life? E-waste, or electronic waste, is the popular term loosely used for electronic products nearing the end of their "useful life." Common e-waste products include TVs, VCRs, printers, computers, monitors, cell phones, and copy machines. Rapid advances in technology and an expanding demand for new features accelerate the obsolescence of "old" electronics, increasing the volume of e-waste. Constant turnover can result in improper disposal, which leaves tons of salvageable materials such as precious metals, plastics, and glass, as well as hazardous chemicals, in landfills. View More
Mars Is About to Have Its ‘Wright Brothers Moment’ June 23, 2020 (AV in the News) As part of its next Mars mission, NASA is sending an experimental helicopter to fly through the red planet’s thin atmosphere. NASA is about to take to the air on another planet. As part of its next mission to Mars, leaving Earth this summer, the space agency will attempt to do something that has never been done before: fly a helicopter through the rarefied atmosphere of Mars. If it works, the small helicopter, named Ingenuity, will open a new way for future robotic explorers to get a bird’s-eye view of Mars and other worlds in the solar system. “This is very analogous to the Wright brothers moment, but on another planet,” said MiMi Aung, the project manager of the Mars helicopter at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory over the past six years. View More
HAPSMobile will develop High Altitude Platform in New Mexico June 11, 2020 (AV in the News) SPACEPORT AMERICA, N.M. - HAPSMobile Inc., a subsidiary of Japan’s telecommunications operator SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) has chosen New Mexico’s Spaceport America for test operations and development of a specialized communications platform designed to provide internet connectivity to hard-to-reach places around the globe, Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes announced today. The company, along with its minority owner and aircraft development partner AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), is working on development of the unmannedsolar-powered High Altitude Platform Station. The stratospheric telecommunicationsplatform, a so-called cell-tower in the sky, is designed to provide better communications tounder-served areas, including rural communities. View More