Feeds

LOHAN's fantastical flying truss takes to the air

Experimental structure last seen heading for Africa

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Video We're pleased to report that last weekend the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) fantastical flying truss finally got off the ground, and we've got some video of the test for your viewing pleasure.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicThe plan, as regular readers will recall, was to see just how a triangular truss performed as a potential launch platform for our Vulture 2 spaceplane.

In traditional garden shed engineering style, we put together a model of the structure from balsa wood, with a view to trying out a few possible lifting configurations.

Here are the trio of proposed set-ups, and there's more on the thinking behind our cunning truss lift plan right here:

Graphic of our three proposed flying truss configurations

Well, in an attempt to save time and money, we first attempted to get off the ground using party balloons and a small bottle of helium bought over the interwebs.

The result had plenty of comedy value for local spectators, but showed a distinct lack of the Right Stuff:

The flying truss with balloon clusters

Cue a long drive to get a proper bottle of helium and some more substantial orbs, and apprentice boffin Katarina and Portuguese builder Rui (the latter temporarily seconded to the Special Projects Bureau from his bricklaying duties), were ready to roll:

Katarina and Rui prepare to launch the flying truss

Mercifully, the flying truss flew at the second attempt...

Katarina with the flying truss ready to go

...and here's a short vid of the helium-fuelled tomfoolery:

The verdict is this: one balloon to lift the truss, which will be angled upwards to the maximum possible inclination the diameter of the fully-inflated balloon allows.

And yes, since you ask, we can put a really long tether between the balloon and the truss to get the Vulture 2 as vertical as possible before launch.

So, how will the spaceplane be attached to the truss? You'll note in the pics and video that we suspended the truss with one flat face down – the opposite of how it's shown in the concept graphic above.

There's a good reason for that, because while supping a few ales last week we had a bit of a lightbulb moment as to how to mount the Vulture 2 underneath the structure, allowing it to launch freely without recourse to any form of release mechanism.

We'll have more on that on Friday, with a graphic to show how it'll work. In the meantime, our beloved reader experts are invited to speculate on just how we reckon we've cracked the problem. ®

Further LOHAN resources:

  • New to LOHAN? Try this mission summary for enlightenment.
  • You can find full LOHAN coverage right here.
  • All the LOHAN and Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) vids live on YouTube.
  • For our SPB photo archive, proceed directly to Flickr.
  • We sometimes indulge in light tweeting, as you can see here.

A tip of the hat to our LOHAN associates

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.