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QinetiQ lends PARIS a helping hand

A hypobaric chamber? Yes, we’ve got one of those…

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We’re delighted to announce today that QinetiQ has splendidly agreed to allow the Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) team access to its hypobaric chamber, allowing us to test a highly-classified Vulture 1 release mechanism.

Those of you who’ve been following PARIS will know that we’ve been scratching our heads quite a bit, trying to work out just how to release the aircraft from the main payload at a predetermined altitude.

We’ve rejected pyrotechnic options, for obvious reasons. Yes, some kind of electronic set-up is a possibility, but we’re old school and want to see if a mechanical, pressure-based system will do the job.

Accordingly, we’re eternally grateful to QinetiQ for giving us the possibility to test our kit at the kind of simulated altitudes PARIS will be operating at. Here’s the chamber, which is located in Farnborough:

QinetiQ explains: “A three-compartment hypobaric chamber capable of achieving simulated altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet with an initial rate of climb of 40,000 feet per minute. The chamber dimensions are 5.7m × 3.7m × 2.4m high and it can accommodate up to 8 persons in its largest compartment.

“The chamber facility includes a vacuum reservoir enabling rapid decompressions of the chamber to take place. Rapid decompressions with a pressure change of 70 kPa in 0.1 second are attainable, which equates to a decompression from 8,000 ft to 65,000 ft.”

The test is scheduled for 1 June, and we will of course bring you full coverage of the event, in the process revealing our cunning Vulture 1 release plan. ®

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