Feeds

SPEARS joins the 19-mile-high club: Intimate snaps

Spaceplane test flight mission photos for your viewing pleasure

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Pics and vid The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is just about done sifting through the photos and vid from our recent test flight of the Special Project Electronic Altitude Release System (SPEARS) control board, and we hereby present highlights for your viewing pleasure.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicRoll over the photos for the name of the snapper in question, or for a bigger version in a new window where available.

Since this is a photo-round up, we're not going into much written detail about the flight. There's more on our heroic Playmonaut's 113,00ft stratodangle here, while you can get details of the SPEARS element of the mission - the control board which fires the rocket's igniter at an altitude of around 19 miles (100,100ft) - here.

We'll bring you full coverage of the mission trackers and Raspberry Picam rig in a dedicate piece next week.

On Saturday 13 July, we assembled at Blighty's Baikonur (Brightwalton in Berkshire) for the big event, to find Dave "Pi In The Sky" Akerman sitting in mission control behind his improbably expansive wall of monitors:

Dave Akerman sits at his mighty bank of monitors

Dave does do low-tech too, though, as this snap of him knocking together lunch proves. Look closely, and you can see the obligatory bacon sitting with the burgers on the barbie. Lovely:

Dave man the barbecue

Neil Barnes was the man charged with SPEARS-fiddling, a task which appears to have knocked a couple of years off his life:

Neil Barnes programmes the SPEARS board

Myself and Anthony Stirk, meanwhile, got on with prepping the Covert High Altitude Vehicle (CHAV), a peripheral bit of fun designed to have a pop at our own Guinness World Record for the highest launch of a paper plane...

The CHAV aircraft

... and here's Anthony Stirk wrangling a miniature tracker into the CHAV fuselage:

Anthony inserts a tracker in the CHAV's fuselage

With the CHAV prepped, Anthony and Dave posed for this fetching portrait of two blokes with plane...

Dave Akerman and Anthony Stirk pose with the CHAV

...before the whole team assembled at the village hall for the obligatory pre-flight group shot:

The test flight team pose with the payload before the flight

From L-R we have rocket motor geezer Paul Shackleton, custom igniter chap Rob Eastwood, apprentice boffin Katarina Haines Barbosa, the aforementioned Anthony Stirk, Neil Barnes and Dave Akerman, plus Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) vet John Oates.

Some of you have questioned whether I was actually at the event, having not yet appeared in published photos. I was, and here I am attaching the CHAV to the main payload...

Lester Haines attaches the CHAV to the main payload box

...and explaining how in the future paper aircraft missions will be levitated by amazing anti-grav telekinetic power alone:

Lester Haines with the main payload box

Those powers will also extend to firing solid-fuel motors for rocket-powered spaceplanes simply by staring at them very hard. Until then, we'll have to rely on custom igniters, seen below during fettling by Paul and Rob:

Paul and Rob connect the custom igniter

While the lads got on with assembling the kit, the unsung heroes of stratospheric missions - their partners, on hand to lend moral support and pitch in the with the photography - wisely decided to seek the shade:

Julie and Anita and Katarina relaxing at the launch site

It's a tip of the hat to Julie Akerman (left) and Neil's missus Anita Wegner, seen here with our apprentice boffin.

Dave's the LOHAN hydrogen head honcho, so he's the one who gets to inflate LOHAN's mighty orbs...

Dave Akerman inflates the balloon

...although it was John and Rob who ended up holding the impressive engorgement:

John Oates and Rob Eastwood with the fully-inflated balloon

For those of you who missed the live feed of the launch, here's a tasty time lapse sequence video of the whole thing, with a bit of music thrown into the mix:

Watch Video

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.