Feeds

LOHAN straps on satellite comms capability

Iridium two-way chat for spaceplane mission

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

We're sure readers will offer the traditional El Reg welcome today to Rock Seven, which has climbed aboard the British space programme by providing an Iridium satellite comms capability for our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicThe company's newly developed RockBLOCK board can "send and receive short messages from anywhere on Earth with a view of the sky", which we thought might prove pretty handy for our audacious spaceplane project.

Nick Farrell, director of Rock Seven, said he's "looking forward to venturing where no Iridium-based two-way communications module has ever gone before".

He added: "We're really excited to be assisting with LOHAN. Our products are used all over the world for getting data back from remote places, but as far as we're aware this will be the first one of our units which has actually made it into space.

"Being able to help with the British space programme is brilliant - this sort of project is technically challenging, and inspiring, and we can't wait to see this launched!"

Here are a couple of snaps of the RockBLOCK, featuring the Iridium 9602 transceiver:

A top view of the RockBLOCK board

The underside of the RockBLOCK

The RockBLOCK's serial interface will allow its pretty effortless integration into our LOHAN Swift control board system. When it's up and running, the RockBLOCK can send 340 byte messages, and receive 270 byte messages.

The guys from Rock Seven estimate that it'll be able to send one message every five to 10 seconds or so, so the obvious application is for payload tracking duties.

However, we will now be able to communicate with LOHAN while it's in the air, so we have the delicious possibility of ground-based command of some mission functions via Iridium's network of 66 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. No doubt our reader experts have some provocative ideas as to how we might avail ourselves of this excellent capability.

While you're mulling that, we invite you to join us in raising a pint or two to Rock Seven, official supplier of satellite comms to British ballocketeers. ®

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
  • Rock 7 logo

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.