Feeds

LOHAN team buried under ballockets

Click here for a shedload of Reg reader spaceplane launch concepts

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

We sort of knew we'd rue the day we asked you lot for your suggestions as to how exactly to launch our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) spaceplane, and so it turned out to be, as were were buried under a veritable bucketload of ballockets.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicWhat we're looking for here is a practical way of getting the rocket-powered Vulture 2 off the launch pad at the highest altitude possible, without the whole thing going completely titsup, and in the process destroying both the aircraft and the helium balloon.

You can find our initial concept, and our observations on possible problems, right here.

And now here are your ideas. You're advised to stick the kettle on and dust off a substantial mug, because your going to need plenty of tea to work your way through this lot.

First up, we did say we'd rework your sketches, but then we decided we just didn't have time if we were going to present as many as possible. We also considered it pretty well obligatory to kick off with Dan Lakey's "highly detailed sketch" of the Vulture 2.

Vulture 2 aircraft with tail feathers

Dan explains: "Essentially, sticking some feathers shuttle-cock style on the rocket 1st stage will pull the centre of aerodynamic pressure to the back of the craft. This will make it point skywards, pivoting about the centre of mass.

"So, simply, fire it horizontally and let physics take care of the rest. Drop the 1st stage with the feathers once it's burned out, and the plane reverts to glider-mode. Maybe add a 2nd stage for some fun, because you never can have enough explosives."

Hmmmm. A few of our beloved commenters have already pitched the idea of thrust vectoring, which would allow a horizontal aircraft launch and subsequent majestic arc to the vertical. Dave Gurr also decided to tackle the balloon clearance problem from the Vulture 2 angle.

He says: "Couldn't you have some kind of detachable 'launch wing' attached? You'd have the whole vehicle hanging under the balloon, simply pointing down. The surfaces of the launch wing would be designed to give the whole vehicle and inverted parabolic trajectory ... so that it falls first and then points upwards. At which point some sort of attitude-sensitive microswitch would trigger the rocket and jettison the launch wing."

Vulture 2 with detachable launch wing

Interesting, but it could prove technically tricky. Less is more, we believe, and Calvin Partridge suggests "skipping the complicated stuff and going for a top launch…"

Vulture 1 launch platform on top of balloon

Nick Jones agrees, and here's his cunning plan:

Another top-mounted Vulture 2 launch plan

Sticking the spaceplane above the balloon/s proved very popular, and here's an alternative solution courtesy of Ian Parker. (It's a quick tip of the hat to Thomas Boys and Michael Fenn as well, for sketching the same idea)

Ian says: "This layout would nearly eliminate the risk of the launch hitting the balloon, and the recovery parachute could be used as part of the counterbalance at the bottom of the apparatus (and hey it puts LOHAN on top where she should be)."

A vertical Vulture 2 on top of a pole between two balloons

Mark Benson preferred the single balloon top launcher configuration, and provided this very impressive graphic:

Balloon enclosed in carbon fibre rings with Vulture 2 mounted in top

Mark elaborates: "Carbon fibre rings enclosing the balloon (possibly with a mesh surrounding the balloon to protect against premature bursting) large enough to contain it when fully expanded with the rocket mounted on top and the payload on the bottom. It would allow a clear launch platform and with the potential for wide angle cameras around the circumference of the rings…"

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?