Feeds

LOHAN rolls out racy rocketry round-up

Progress to date on our audacious spaceplane mission

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

5: Mission electronics

We recently took a major step towards resolving the thorny problem of just how to trigger the Vulture 2's motor at altitude when reader Anthony Stirk offered to put together one of his Swift Rev2 boards - designed for long-duration High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) missions:

An underside view of the board

A top view of the board

The components are:

  • ATMega644 running at 8Mhz
  • uBlox MAX-6 GPS
  • Sarantel Antenna
  • Radiometrix 300mW HX1 Module for APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System)
  • Radiometrix 10mW NTX2 Module for RTTY (radioteletype)
  • BMP085 Pressure Sensor
  • Triple DS18B20 temperature sensors
  • Header for UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver-Transmitter) camera
  • 3.3V and 5V power rails

Critically, the uBlox MAX-6 GPS is good to 50km (164,000ft), so we can use it to fire the Vulture 2 custom igniter via one of the board's five general purpose input/outputs (GPIOs).

Neil Barnes - he of the barometric altimeter almost sucked to death in the REHAB chamber - has agreed to do the coding, so we're in business.

We've decided to add an accelerometer to the mix, to help us detect balloon burst. As we previously reported, 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.

When the big day comes, we'll be packing a spare meteorological balloon, so we can go for two flights if necessary. This option impacts on the Swift rocket motor ignition parameters, which are:

  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 will also be logging flight data, and may be required to control the rocket motor heater. If all this proves an excessive workload for the board, we'll consider spreading the load to a second unit.

So, that's currently where we're at with LOHAN. As ever, your comments and or suggestions are warmly welcomed, preferably down the ballocket mosh pit. ®

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

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?