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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Two is one, one is none

In fact, we have two heaters - just in case one succumbs to the rigours of testing - so we plugged in the second to check it was in good health. Here's the result, again when sandwiched between two styrofoam sheets:

Graph of our second heater test, between styrofoam sheets

That's all well and good, but when the heater makes its way to the stratosphere, it'll be wrapped round the aluminium motor casing, and sealed on with heatshrink. A layer of space blanket between heater and plastic will provide some insulation.

That's the plan, anyway, so we need to have some idea of whether the thruster will stay toasty without extra insulation.

Accordingly, we glued an aluminium sheet on top of some styrofoam, taped the heater on top...

The heater on top of an aluminium sheet, with space blanket on top

...and then stretched some space blanket over the heater, having first stuck in a K-type thermocouple to monitor the temperature:

The space blanket taped tight on top of the heater

In the best tradition of garden-shed bodging, we then slapped on a rubber sheet to simulate the heatshrink. It's actually a piece of shower mat, complete with designer suction pad motif:

The rubber mat taped on top of everything, with the battery and temperature meter connected

Unsurprisingly, without the benefit of a styrofoam sandwich, and with the aluminium sheet slurping up the output, we won't be frying eggs on this test set-up:

Graph of our third heater test

This may look like a very modest temperature rise, but there's one thing we have to bear in mind: the lack of atmosphere at altitude may prevent heat radiating away from the motor.

In fact, this effect is exactly why you don't have to heat electronics on High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) flights. On the contrary, you have to be careful they don't melt down.

So, we know what you're thinking - and we agree that the only way to find out is to send the test rig heavenwards with a temperature logger and see what happens. Watch this space... ®


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

Paper Aircraft Released Into Space

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
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
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
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.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.