Guidance, Navigation, and Control of NASA’s Mars Helicopter by Håvard F. Grip

ABSTRACT: In 2020, NASA will launch a drone-sized helicopter to Mars as part of its next rover mission. The helicopter will perform a series of experimental test flights to demonstrate the readiness of helicopter technology for Mars exploration.

The Mars Helicopter is one of the most unusual vehicles ever built, having the ability to perform autonomous flights in an atmosphere with only 1% the density of Earth’s, while surviving in a self-sufficient manner in the inhospitable environment of Mars. Among the many challenges in developing this vehicle was the design of a robust flight control system, capable of safely flying the vehicle without human intervention or external navigation aids. In this talk I will discuss how this was accomplished through extensive analysis, careful algorithm design, and a unique testing and validation program.

BIOSKETCH: Håvard F. Grip is a Robotics Technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and the Flight Control and Aerodynamics Lead for the Mars Helicopter. Dr. Grip received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Engineering Cybernetics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2006 and 2010, respectively. Prior to joining JPL in 2013, he performed research at the SINTEF Research Group in Trondheim, Norway; Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz) in Stuttgart, Germany; and Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, in areas including nonlinear and distributed control design, nonlinear state estimation, and navigation.

Date(s) - Nov 22, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


38-138 Engineering IV
420 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles CA 90095

 UCLA Samueli Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering