The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum held its Michael Collins Trophy award ceremony March 24 at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. The 2022 recipients were Wally Funk for Lifetime Achievement and the Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Team for Current Achievement.
Ingenuity rode to the surface of Mars attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover on Feb 18, 2021. And several weeks later, on April 19, the rotorcraft achieved the very first powered, controlled flight on another planet.
While Ingenuity arrived on Mars as a technology demonstration, NASA has extended flight operations through September. The historic rotorcraft has successfully completed 23 flights and counting and will continue supporting the Perseverance rover’s upcoming science campaign exploring the ancient river delta of Jezero Crater. Along the way, it will continue pushing its own capabilities to help inform the design of future Mars aerial vehicles.
Lifetime Achievement recipient, Wally Funk and 12 other women pilots underwent spaceflight training in the ’60s as part of an unofficial program – even outperforming the men – but were denied the chance to fly.
Wally never abandoned her dream of going to space and at 82-years-old that dream came true when she launched aboard the FIRST crewed suborbital mission of Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule.
For more information about the Mars Ingenuity Helicopter, visit https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter/
Video Producer/ Editor: Sonnet Apple
Videographer: Shane Apple
Audio: Manny Cooper
Music: Universal Production Music
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