Feeds

LOHAN rival to inflate bulging orbs with hydrogen

Trifling explosion hazard outweighed by greater buoyancy

Business security measures using SSL

We at the El Reg Special Projects Bureau are well aware that some of you are less than impressed with the choice of lifting gas for our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project.

Well, we're not going to be swayed on the matter, but the Hindenberg fans among you are directed to the STARS Project, a private High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) initiative comprising "a series of near-space remote sensing missions showing how indivuduals can explore space and perform real science, without the budget of a global super-power or a multinational aerospace company".

The blurb elaborates: "The mission objective is to launch an instrument package to over 100,000ft (30km), record measurements and images throughout the flight, track the package through its descent phase to landing, and retrieve the data."

There's more background on kit and methodology down at the STARS website, but the bit about balloons caught our eye. The team couldn't get a 1.5kg balloon (the size of PARIS's impressive orb) and will use a 1kg one instead.

They note: "We haven't ordered lifting gas yet. Because we've had to take a hit on the payload weight, and use a much smaller balloon, we're now considering a hydrogen fill, rather than helium, for the added buoyancy. Obviously, we're going to have to take anti-static precautions during the fill, but it should compensate to some extent for the loss of lift. We will need to agree with the CAA that a hydrogen fill will be acceptable.

"On the plus side, hydrogen's cheap as chips to make, compared to helium – you just electrolyse water, or use a catalyst reaction – so we might save a pound or two."

STARS main man Jon Green tells us he's "still mulling over the lifting gas problem", and says in the end it's down to the Civil Aviation Authority whether hydrogen is a goer.

And before you lot start banging on again about LOHAN and hydrogen, let's clarify our position on this lightweight element. We like hydrogen. It can be combined with oxygen to create water – a substance of moderate interest which is elevated to greatness when used to make beer.

Hydrogen is also a vital ingredient of C10H14N2 (or 3-(1-methylpyrrolidin-2-yl)pyridine to its mates), which is precisely why we won't be using it.

Nonetheless, we wish STARS well, and look forward to seeing the results of their audacious hydrogen plan. ®

A tip of the hat to our LOHAN associatesOpenPilot

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.