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Experimental Vulture 2 launch platform

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It's taken us a while, and a not inconsiderable amount of head-scratching, but we've finally come up with a design for the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) launch platform.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicThose of you who've been following LOHAN will recall the invitation to our beloved readers to present their best ballocket launch concepts, which attracted some top-notch ideas on the best way to carry our Vulture 2 vehicle aloft.

We took all these suggestions on board, and found further inspiration here, following a tip-off from a reader who reckoned a triangular truss suspended between two balloons offered the best solution.

We were inclined to agree, and in the best garden shed boffinry tradition, set about putting together a model of a LOHAN flying truss. Cue some 6mm balsa wood dowels, and the Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) jig methodology deployed on the construction of our Guinness World Record Vulture 1 aircraft:

Balsa wood dowels coming together in our assembly jig

Here's one face of the truss progressing nicely. We used Super Glue to speed up the build, but reinforced the joints after assembly with PVA wood glue...

Diagonal dowels in place on one face of the truss

A sheet of balsa provides a platform for mounting test equipment...

Launch platform glued to one face of the truss

...as you can see here on one finished face of the truss (two metres long, in case you were wondering):

The first face of our flying truss

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