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May 06, 2023

AeroVironment to Co-Design and Develop New Mars Helicopters

NASA/JPL Contract for Mars Sample Return Mission

On 02 May 2023, AeroVironment, announced it had been awarded a $10-million contract by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to co-design and co-develop rotary-wing concepts germane to NASA’s Mars Sample Recovery Helicopter mission—a near-future initiative by which a series of U.S. and European spacecraft are to journey to Mars for purpose of retrieving and returning to Earth an assortment of Martian regolith samples currently being cached by NASA’s Perseverance rover.

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NASA Announces New Chief Flight Director

Emily Nelson Installed to Replace Holly Ridings

NASA announced its newest chief flight director, confirming that Emily Nelson would be leading the group overseeing human spaceflight missions from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Norm Knight, NASA director of flight ops, selected Nelson to replace the outgoing Holly Ridings, who served as the director from 2018 to 2022. Ridings has moved on to helm the NASA Gateway Program, an international partnership aiming to establish the first lunar-orbiting space station.

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Women's Air & Space Museum Offers One-Off Memorabilia Tour

Whirly Girls Founding Celebrated with Special Event on May 12th

The International Women’s Air & Space Museum (IWASM) will be holding a special “Coffee & Collections” event this month, bringing focus on the history of the Whirly Girls on Friday, May 12. The Whirly Girls date back more than 7 decades, when the first 13 female helicopter pilots were honored for their contributions to the rotary wing industry. Since then, the Whirly Girls have gone on to include thousands of members from 44 countries, awarded scholarships, facilitated networking opportunities, provided mentoring, and created a robust global community for female helicopter pilots."

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