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El Reg space paper plane christened Vulture 1

PARIS project moves to planning stage

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

It's official: The El Reg "Paper Aircraft Released Into Space" (PARIS) vehicle has been christened Vulture 1 by popular vote, and with this formality out of the way we can move on to pondering just how our audacious upper atmosphere programme is actually going to work.

We're grateful to all those readers who chipped in with suggestions and opinions, and we can summarise your thoughts thus:

  • The Vulture 1 must be constructed entirely of paper, although hi-tech coatings are permissible.
  • PARIS should be a manned mission, albeit with a suitably diminutive crew member. Watch this space…
  • APRS tracking is the way to go, with GPS capability for recovery of the Vulture 1.
  • Live coverage of the event should be made available online, via APRS.
  • The Vulture 1 must, of course, be able to photograph its epic journey.

This all sounds plausible enough, but we have one serious possible restriction. According to a couple of readers, the CAA has a limit on the weight of a weather balloon payload, which could be critical. We're making enquiries to see what the state of play is there.

Something else which you lot might want to ponder is just how we can release the Vulture 1 from the helium balloon at a predetermined altitude, without having to put together a mechanism which will add greatly to the payload weight. Any thoughts?

Regarding the design of the vehicle itself, we're keeping an open mind pending resolution of the weight issue, which will obviously be a major factor.

So, our first task is to get a weight limit, and then see just what kit we can deploy within that. As ever, you can post further comments to this piece, or email me right here. ®

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