Feeds

Warming up the thruster that will ram LOHAN to glorious heights

Project team prepares to shove pocket rocket in toaster

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Our audacious Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) spaceplane project continues to advance on multiple fronts, and while Neil Barnes and Anthony Stirk put together the Special Project Electronic Altitude Release System (SPEARS) control board, we've been doing some more work on the Vulture 2 rocket motor heater set-up.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicTo summarise, we know a solid rocket motor will fire at altitude, but the effect of very low temperature on the thruster's ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP) is unknown.

To launch a pre-emptive strike on this potential problem, we decided to heat the motor on the ascent phase of the mission, and got our hands on a space-grade Polyimide Thermofoil flexible heater.

The heater's effective area is 300.257 cm2, and its resistance is 64Ω. At 12V it draws 0.1875A and pumps out 2.24W, which translates to a watt density of 0.0078W/cm2. We hooked it up to a 1300mAh Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery (11.1V nominal)...

The heater test rig, with battery, watt meter, temperature sensor, heater and insulation

...and the first results were encouraging. Here's how the LOHAN toaster performed when sandwiched between two sheets of styrofoam:

Graph of our first heater test, between styrofoam sheets

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
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
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
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 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.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.