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LeBovidge on Selection Committee for NAA’s Collier Trophy; Mars Helicopter Team Selected for Award

Executive Vice President Andrew LeBovidge recently served on the selection committee for the Robert J. Collier Trophy, awarded annually since 1911 by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). There were four outstanding nominees for the award, which recognizes the “greatest achievements in aeronautics and astronautics in America.”

This year NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Team was selected as the recipient for “the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet, thereby opening the skies of Mars and other worlds for future scientific discovery and exploration.”

“While each of the nominees was stellar in their own right, the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Team’s accomplishment was truly marvelous across multiple aspects of both categories of aeronautics and astronautics,” LeBovidge said.

One hundred and seventeen years after the Wright brothers succeeded in making the first powered flight on our planet, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter performed this amazing feat on another world. On April 19, 2021, Ingenuity lifted off from the surface of Mars, climbed to the prescribed altitude of 10 feet, and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds. It then descended, touching back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight, thereby becoming the first aircraft in history to make a powered-controlled flight on another planet.

Simultaneously honoring the past and inspiring the future of aviation and space, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter carries a small swatch from the left wing of the first Wright Flyer with it into the Martian skies on every flight.

The 2021 Collier Trophy will be formally presented on June 9, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The complete list of Collier recipients represents a timeline of air and space achievements, marking major events in the history of flight dating back to 1911.

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