Feeds

El Reg to launch space paper plane

Your input invited for audacious upper-atmosphere mission

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

A new approach to endpoint data protection

It's official: We here at the Vulture Central Science Bureau have had enough of writing about space shuttles, orbiting Japanese laboratories and Chinese taikonauts, when the best the UK's space programme can offer is to lose touch with a 300g wedge of Somerset farmhouse cheddar somewhere over the south of England.

Accordingly, we've decided to restore national pride by resurrecting our space payload mission - inspired by Cambridge Uni's 2006 Nova 1 flight.

Readers may recall we invited suggestions as to just what we could send aloft beneath a weather balloon, and the overwhelming response was this: A high-tech paper plane, GPS-tracked from 100,000ft and recovered by pursuit teams following what will doubtless be the longest paper plane flight ever recorded in the annals of human aerospace endeavour.

Well, the mission is officially go for summer 2010. Our initial thoughts are these:

  • Balsa/paper aircraft construction, capable of carrying GPS payload and withstanding extreme conditions at altitude and subsequently glide gently to earth.
  • Mechanism to release aircraft from balloon at preset altitude (relying on balloon burst not a good idea).
  • Mobile GPS tracking set-up to allow pursuit.
  • Possible on-board photographic capability?

Our tentative plan is to construct three aircraft: Low altitude prototype for initial testing; fully-equipped medium altitude example for systems-test release from aircraft; and the final operational model.

As you can see, there's not much more to it than that at present, so this is where you lot come in. We're inviting comments, suggestions and contributions to this audacious mission, starting with a name for the aircraft.

Once christened, we'll set about drafting our initial design, and invite further reader input in putting together the prototype.

So, let's get to it. Post your naming suggestion as a comment to this article, or email me here. Likewise, if you want to get involved, drop me a line explaining just why you've got the right stuff for this mission. Offers of suitable kit and supplies are, of course, more than welcome. ®

Bootnote

We're expecting plenty of press coverage for this revitalisation of the UK's space programme, so any corporate sponsors who'd like to back us should contact Phil Mitchell here.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?