Artist’s impression of Mars Helicopter Ingenuity. Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech

The National Space Society’s annual ISDC conference to celebrate jet propulsion lab engineers

Persistent, low-flying aircraft provide rovers with an important “forecasting” capability, allowing them to both find objects of intense interest and avoid dangerous terrain. ”

—Anita Gale, CEO of the National Space Society

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, April 29, 2022 / — The National Space Society will honor the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Helicopter Team with the society’s Space Pioneer Award in 2022 International Conference on Space Development® (ISDC®). The conference takes place May 27-29 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.

The annual Space Pioneer Awards recognize individuals and teams whose achievements have helped open the space frontier and who have made significant contributions in different areas of effort to develop a space civilization that will establish communities beyond Earth.

“The Mars Helicopter Ingenuity has unleashed the power of low-altitude aerial exploration of Mars,” said Anita Gale, CEO of the National Space Society. “Low-flying persistent aircraft provide significant foresight to rovers, allowing them to both find objects of intense interest and avoid dangerous terrain. The NSS commends the Ingenuity team for their pioneering work in this area. »

The Mars Helicopter started out as a small experimental concept at JPL, but after much difficult design and testing work, it became a late addition to the Perseverance Mars rover. The latest iteration was completed in just under a year and mounted under the rover shortly before flight. After landing, Ingenuity detached and began a series of increasingly long and complex flights, operating completely independently of the rover except for radio communications. Originally conceived as a proof-of-concept engineering experiment, with only 5 flights scheduled, Ingenuity has flown 27 times, steadily increasing its altitude, duration and distance. He even did a reconnaissance for the rover, exploring the way forward.

The awards ceremony will begin the conference at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, May 27. During the presentation of the Space Pioneer Award to Jaakko Karras of JPL, chief engineer of the Mars Helicopter program, Karras will give a short presentation. He will accept the award for the entire Ingenuity team.

Ingenuity was designed and built by JPL with contributions from NASA Ames Research Center and Langley Research Center; AeroVironment, Inc.; GroundAero; and Espace Lockheed Martin.

For more information and to register for the International Conference on Space Development 2022, visit the ISDC 2022 website.

The National Space Society was founded in 1987 by the merger of the National Space Institute, founded to promote citizen support for the American space program, and the L5 Society, based on the work of space colonization pioneer Gerard K. O’ Neill. The NSS is the primary citizen voice on the exploration, development and colonization of space. For more information, visit

Aggie Kobrin
National Space Society
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