Feeds

LOHAN sets clock ticking for explosive climax

Just what our mission control board will do, and when...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Work is proceeding apace on our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Swift" control board, as recently unveiled to an astounded world.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicAnthony Stirk and Neil Barnes are beavering away at assembling the board and tackling the coding, respectively. Earlier this week Anthony got the GPS chip on the Swift up and running - the vital component which will ultimately be responsible for firing the Vulture 2 spaceplane's solid rocket motor.

As we reported last week, the Swift (pictured below) is a potent device, packing the tried-and-tested uBlox MAX-6 GPS, BMP085 Pressure Sensor, a couple of radio modules, APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) capability and no less than three temperature sensors plus five general purpose input/outputs (GPIOs).

An underside view of the board

After some discussion, we decided to add an accelerometer to the package, to help us detect balloon burst. This will, in parallel with the GPS – which can also obviously be used to detect drop in height – act as a failsafe ignition trigger in the event of premature balloon burst.

Or rather, they'll act as a failsafe if it's absolutely necessary to launch the Vulture 2 without further ado. We'll have two meteorological balloons for the LOHAN mission, so if something goes awry on the first flight, we have the option for a second.

If the first flight is a bust, we'll recover the Vulture 2 along with the fantastical flying truss, and give the thing another pop.

This impacts on the Swift rocket motor ignition parameters, which are pretty self-explanatory:

  1. Arm ignition system at 60,000ft (18,300m).
  2. Fire rocket motor at [classified].
  3. First launch: In case of premature balloon burst, as indicated by accelerometer and/or GPS, abort launch.
  4. In case of abort, or ignition failure at launch altitude, ignition system safety shutdown after two hours, or when altitude falls below 40,000ft (12,200m), whichever comes first.
  5. Second launch: In case of premature balloon burst, as indicated by accelerometer and/or GPS, fire motor immediately.

The Swift is also tasked with data logging and radio transmission duties. Neil has expressed concerns that it might huff and puff under the workload, but we can if necessary use a second board to spread the weight.

We'll find out just how the Swift copes when it's ready for some full-fat testing, so watch this space for further developments... ®

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.

LOHAN - A Special Projects Bureau production in association with...

  • 3T RPD logo
  • University of Southampton logo
  • Applied Vacuum Engineering logo
  • Escher Technologies
  • Flashpoint Fireworks logo
  • HAB Supplies logo

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.