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Our Vulture 2 spaceplane sprouts sleek pointy beak

LOHAN's nose job lands at 3D printers

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The nylon dust has almost settled on the epic design and build saga of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 spaceplane as 3D printer 3T RPD Ltd fires up the machine to craft the last pieces of our revolutionary aircraft.

Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen, the crack design team of Southampton Uni postgrads - comprising David Cooper, Chris Dodd and Amrith Surendra – has delivered the final CAD drawings for the vehicle's nose and canards, and here they are for your viewing pleasure:

The upper and lower nose sections of our Vulture 2 spaceplane

CAD view of the Vulture 2's canards

Magnificent. The nose's removable top section allows access to the aircraft's avionics, which will be lashed to the perforated tray in the bottom section.

There's a longitudinal aperture for the Teflon insert which will guide the Vulture 2 along the launch rod on our fantastical flying truss.

Once assembled, the nose attaches to the fuselage with a cunning bayonet mount system, better seen here:

CAD drawing of the Vulture 2's fuselage

In case you missed them, here are a few other views of the spaceplane, as revealed over the past couple of weeks:

Montage of CAD images of sections of the Vulture 2

A cut-though CAD view of the Vulture 2 wing

A CAD view of the underside of the wing, with servo mounts and cables

So, now there's just the small matter of taking delivery of the bits at the SPB's mountaintop assembly complex, putting them together, rigging the autopilot, servos, and so forth, ground testing the systems and then throwing the beast off a cliff or similar to see if it'll fly. Simple as that.

Naturally, you're as keen as we are to see how our Vulture 2 shapes up, so as soon as we get our grubby mitts on the parts, we'll cue a fanfare of trumpets and get some snaps published.

Regarding the avionics, rest assured we'll have our usual comprehensive coverage of all the kit in the next couple of weeks, or as soon as the autopilot has cleared Spanish customs, whichever comes soonest. Previous experience of Madrid airport aduana operatives prompts us to suggest you don't hold your breath.

As an alternative to going blue in the face, join us in raising a foaming ale or two to Messrs Cooper, Dodd and Surendra for their sterling work. ®


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

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