Published: Feb. 17, 2023
Farah Alibay

Farah Alibay
Lead Flight System Systems Engineer, JPL
Friday, Feb. 24 | 11:45 a.m. | AERO 120

Abstract: In April 2021, the Ingenuity helicopter achieved the first powered flight on another planet. In its first flight, the helicopter rose to a 3-meter altitude, performed a hover, and softly landed back on the surface of Mars. The entire feat was filmed by its host mission: the Perseverance rover.

The path to achieving this first flight was not only a set of groundbreaking technological advancements, but also involved highly complex operations that had to be coordinated across two different projects - something that is rarely done on surfaces of other planets.

This talk will first give an overview of both the Perseverance and Ingenuity mission before diving into the operational challenges of coordinating the interface between the Ingenuity and Perseverance vehicles and the lessons learned along the way.

Bio: Dr. Farah Alibay received a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering from the University of Cambridge in 2010, as well as a PhD in Space Systems Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2014. Her primary research focused on spatially and temporally distributed multi-vehicle architectures for planetary exploration.

She has since been a systems engineer at JPL, where she has worked on a number of projects including the SunRISE mission, the MarCO CubeSats, and the InSight lander.

More recently, she has served as a flight system systems engineer for the M2020 mission, as well as the Integration Lead for the Ingenuity helicopter technology demonstration. Dr. Alibay is now the lead Flight System Systems Engineer on the SPHEREx telescope mission.


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