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PARIS acquires visual tracking capability

Sets telescopic sights on Vulture 1

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Our Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) programme continues to advance on multiple fronts, with the Vulture 1-X structure coming along nicely, a Mark 2 release mechanism ready for testing and our logistics team pondering just how to get the maximum bangs for bucks from launch day - when it finally arrives.

As avid followers of PARIS know, our main payload will be packing a Kodak Zx1 video camera, which we hope will capture the Vulture 1 release and thereafter some nice footage of our beloved home planet.

What we hadn't thought about, though, was the possibility of filming the ascent and release from the ground. That was until an astronomer pal of El Reg's Iberian bureau, Alejandro Díaz, suggested we deploy his vast array of telescopes and binoculars for the job.

The target - A4 sheet of orange card marked with pink fluorescent paintWell, we like a bit of gauntlet throwing, so we challenged Alejandro to spot and photograph an A4 target (pictured) from a distance of 20km+. After a bit of mulling, we found a good spot to set up the kit, and a suitable location to place our objective.

The former is the Puerto de Tornavacas (.kmz here) on the border between Castilla y León and Extremadura; the latter a road junction 23km down the Jerte valley (.kmz here):

Google Earth grab showing viewing point and target for telescope test

This is the view from the target location, with the Puerto de Tornavacas indicated...

The target location, with the telescope position arrowed

...and here you have the view from there, with the target location nailed by the big red arrow:

The view down the valley from Puerto de Tornavacas, with target location arrowed

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