San Diego Business Journal

There has been a lot in the news recently about NASA’s Perseverance rover and its recent landing on Mars. The early photos have been outstanding. But there has not been much said yet about its big connection to San Diego.

Qualcomm collaborated with NASA’s JPL on robotics technology that will be powering an experimental drone that will soon attempt the first powered flight on another planet. Called Ingenuity, it is a technology experiment that came to Mars as a passenger on Perseverance. The “helicopter” weighs about four pounds on earth and has a fuselage about the size of a tissue box, according to NASA. Qualcomm’s robotics solutions helped to overcome space navigation challenges, such as adapting to Mars’ atmospheric conditions.

Autonomous flight will allow exploration in places where traditional space technologies cannot reach. This will open a new dimension of space exploration and flight navigation.

The helicopter does not carry any science instruments and is not part of the science mission. Its objective is only engineering. It will demonstrate rotorcraft flight in the thin atmosphere of Mars that is only 1 percent the density of Earth’s atmosphere.

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California Coast Credit Union and the City of San Diego announced last week a five-year partnership with the city. The partnership will help fund several city initiatives including the San Diego Promise Zone. This marks the first time a local San Diego company has provided resources to this federal program.

The San Diego Promise Zone is one of 22 federally designated Promise Zones in the U.S. and only one of four in California. It covers a 6.4-square-mile targeted area in East Village and Barrio Logan.

“They were the first financial institution in the region to offer a grant to our businesses during the city’s Small Business Relieve Fund effort in early 2020 and the first to prioritize additional investment into the success of the Promise Zone through this renewed relationship,” said Christina Bibler, director of the city’s Economic Development Department.

Funding will be made available for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s Community Outreach Program, Parks and Recreation’s Volunteer Program, and the Human Resources Youth Development Program, according to the city.