Feeds

Heavenly SPEARS gives LOHAN a hot satisfying BANG

Fails to get CHAV off successfully, however

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The igniter boasts two independent E-Match connections, for a primary and failsafe trigger mechanism connections. The primary is, of course, SPEARS. The secondary is the magnificently garden shed boffinesque Clockwork High Altitude Release Mechanism (CHARM), featuring a clockwork oven timer, safety switch and a few wires:

The timer rigged to a battery holder and safety switch

Once the rig was mounted in a plastic box, we had the agreeable task of adding safety warning and "ARM" graphics:

The front of the box, with the timer dial and switch

CHARM has proved pretty accurate in ground tests, and since we can calculate the balloon rate of ascent, it offers a simple failsafe in the event SPEARS goes titsup.

With both trigger systems installed in the payload box, Paul Shackleton could connect the igniter (indicated), and wrap the PIC around the nylon cord holding the CHAV (pic by Neil's missus Anita Wegner):

Paul Shackleton connects the igniter, which is tied to the payload box. Pic: Anita Wegner

The flight launched from Blighty's Baikonur (Brightwalton in Berkshire) and came down in a tree at 51.23172, -1.63336, just south of Perham Down on the edge of Salisbury Plain. Once the team had retrieved the kit...

The LOHAN team poses after the flight

...we slurped the data from the SPEARS SD card. Here are the key points, with the CHARM timings included:

  • 11.50: CHARM armed, SPEARS safety time-out sequence initiated
  • 11.57: Launch
  • 12.00: 1,000m
  • 12.12: 5,000m
  • 12.26: 10,000m
  • 13.00: 20,000m - Safety altitude passed, SPEARS board armed
  • 13.30: 30,000m
  • 13.32: 30,523m - SPEARS fires igniter at programmed altitude
  • 13.43: 34,223m - Maximum detected altitude, balloon burst, momentary zero g
  • 13.44: 33,614m - 500m below maximum altitude, SPEARS descent trigger command issued
  • 13.50 (estimated): 20,879m - CHARM failsafe fires secondary igniter circuit
  • 14.19: Payload hits ground
  • 14.20: SPEARS safety time-out blows ignition fuse

It's evident the E-Match part of the igniter went off with hell of a bang, as shown by the scorching on the top of the payload box:

The scorching on the top of the payload box, caused by the igniter

However, the PIC began to burn and then fizzled out, thereby failing to cut the CHAV suspension cord.** Rob Eastwood was on the spot for a quick dissection, and you can see here how the PIC started to burn, then gave up the ghost.

The igniter dissected after the flight, showing that the PIC failed to burn

We already know PIC will burn in a vacuum, having successfully fired the custom igniter the Rocketry Experimental High Altitude Barosimulator (REHAB) chamber. It appears it doesn't much like the cold, so Rob and Paul are mulling just how to get round that problem.

In summary, then, both SPEARS and CHARM work as required, and are fit for duty. We need to address the igniter issue, and get a new model up and tested under mission conditions. As ever, your thoughts/observations are warmly welcomed. ®

Bootnote

*Here's some vid of the flight, from the main payload camera and then the Raspberry Pi camera mounted in the CHAV's nose:

Watch Video

**Academic, as it turns out, for reasons we'll explain tomorrow.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.