Feeds

LOHAN starts to feel the barometric pressure

Mulls spaceplane rocket motor trigger

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

As the design of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 spaceplane continues apace, we've been considering just how to fire the aircraft's solid rocket motor at a predetermined altitude.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicWe haven't yet revealed exactly which mighty unit will eventually power the Vulture 2 heavenwards, and still have to determine whether off-the-shelf solid rocket motors will actually fire at low pressure and temperature.

That's what our forthcoming Rocketry Experimental High Altitude Barosimulator (REHAB) experiment is designed to do, although we're still waiting for a few last bits for our shed-built hypobaric chamber.

If the rocket motors won't fire under simulated high-altitude conditions in an out-of-the-box state, we'll obviously have to find a way to make sure they will ignite when the big day comes.

So, assuming we've got our powerplant to go bang at altitude and -60°C, how are we going to trigger it when LOHAN launches for real?

Well, our instinct is to go for a pressure-operated electronic trigger board, like AED's Rocket Data-Acquisition System (R-DAS). This piece of rocketry kit could be programmed to fire up the 12V igniter system at a predetermined altitude, based on the barometric pressure.

There is a slight problem, though. The R-DAS has a Motorola MPXS4100 pressure sensor, which is only good down to 20kPa, which by our reckoning represents an altitude of around 12,500 metres, or 41,000 feet.

We need a sensor that will go down to 1 kPa, so we threw AED an email asking if the R-DAS could be fitted with an alternative Motorola sensor covering the required range.

We're still waiting for a reply, and while we're twiddling our thumbs, we thought we'd invite our LOHAN reader experts to give us their opinion, or perhaps suggest an alternative line of attack.

Over to you...®

Further LOHAN resources:

  • New to LOHAN? Try this mission summary for enlightenment.
  • You can find full LOHAN coverage right here.
  • Join the expert LOHAN debate down at Reg forums.
  • 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 consensual tweeting, as you can see here.

A tip of the hat to our LOHAN associates

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
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.