Feeds

Heavenly SPEARS gives LOHAN a hot satisfying BANG

Fails to get CHAV off successfully, however

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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.

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
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
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
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
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.