How to Watch NASA Livestreams As Ingenuity Helicopter Attempts First Mars Flight

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter is currently scheduled to attempt its first flight on Mars toward the end of the day on Sunday.

If the aircraft is successful, the attempt will be the first demonstration of powered, controlled flight on another planet. The experimental vehicle rode to Mars attached to the belly of the space agency's Perseverance rover.

To mark the first flight, NASA is hosting a series of online events that will keep the public updated on the rover's exploits.

If the helicopter flies as expected on Sunday, the space agency will broadcast a livestream confirming the flight. This livestream will show the Ingenuity team analyzing the first test flight data at the Space Flight Operations Facility of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

This livestream is expected to begin around 3:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 a.m. PDT) on Monday, April 12 and can be watched on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the space agency's website. It will also be broadcast on several of the agency's social media platforms, including the JPL YouTube and Facebook channels.

NASA will also be broadcasting both a pre-flight and post-flight briefing. These are currently scheduled to air at 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT) on April 9 and 11 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. PDT) on April 12, respectively.

The preflight briefing will provide the latest details on the progress of the helicopter's operations and what to expect on the first flight day.

During these briefings and the livestream of the first test flight results, members of the public can ask questions on social media using "#MarsHelicopter."

Briefing participants are expected to include:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, NASA Headquarters
  • MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager, JPL
  • Tim Canham, Ingenuity operations lead, JPL
  • Amelia Quon, Ingenuity chamber test engineer, JPL
  • Elsa Jensen, Mastcam-Z uplink operations lead, Malin Space Science Systems

The time or date of the first flight may shift as engineers work on the helicopter deployment process, preflight checks and the positioning of both the aircraft and Perseverance. Thus, the timings of the livestreams and briefings are subject to change. The latest schedule will be available on Ingenuity's Watch Online webpage.

Ingenuity's mission involves a 30-day window in which the helicopter will conduct one or more test flights.

During flight operations, Perseverance will provide support, taking images collecting environmental data, and hosting the base station that allows the helicopter to communicate with mission controllers on Earth.

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter
NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen here in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on April 5, the 45th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU