Feeds

Handsome young autopilot reports for spaceplane duty

LOHAN welcomes 3D Robotics' Pixhawk kit

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team this morning welcomed aboard a handsome young autopilot for our Vulture 2 spaceplane - the hot-off-the-press 3D Robotics Pixhawk.

3DR kindly offered to donate a couple of Pixhawks to the cause, after ArduPilot fixed-wing lead developer Andrew Tridgell suggested we'd benefit from the improved data-logging capabilities over our existing ArduPilot Mega (APM) 2.6.

So, here's what came out of the box after the delivery bloke in the white van had knocked at the door this morning:

The Pixhawk kit straight out of the box

  1. USB cable
  2. Power module for LiPo battery hook-up
  3. Connection guide stickers
  4. Safety switch*
  5. Connector cables
  6. PC splitter module
  7. Micro SD card USB adapter
  8. Mounting pads
  9. 4GB micro SD card and adapter
  10. Buzzer

A round of applause for 3DR for supplying an SD card, and the USB adaptor. Very handy. There are details on how the other bits work, including the status-singing buzzer, right here.

An absolutely essential additional peripheral is the unassuming uBlox GPS unit...

The 3D Robotics GPS module

...while an optional 3DR radio set will allow us to talk to the autopilot without the faff of connecting to it with a USB cable:

The 3DR radio kit

We've already tested the radio link with the APM 2.6, are here's the transmitter temporarily connected to the Vulture 2 ahead of the aircraft's forthcoming brain transplant:

The radio connected to the autopilot in the Vulture 2

As we noted last week, as well as swapping out the autopilot, we'll need to reorganise the avionics bay to accommodate a Raspberry Pi and nose-mounted Picam. There's also the matter of getting an airspeed sensor into the Vulture 2's extremely pointy beak, and LOHAN fans will recall that we still have to resolve the hot coupling issue for the plane's rocket motor heater.

That's quite a lot to be getting on with, especially in parallel with the ongoing Vulture 2 paintjob, but rest assured we still have plenty of quality teabags on hand to fuel our labours. ®

Bootnote

*Essential, we reckon, lest the improbable rack of electronics inside the Vulture 2 suddenly achieves Skynet-syle self-awareness and decides it'd be much better off without the LOHAN team.


More from the lovely LOHAN:

  • You can find full LOHAN coverage right here.
  • If you're new to LOHAN, seek out our mission summary for enlightenment.
  • There are photos our our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane here, and detailed structural plans here.
  • For your further viewing pleasure, we have all our photographic material stored on Flickr.
  • Our LOHAN and Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) videos live on YouTube.
  • 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
  • Random Engineering logo
  • Space Graphic Solutions logo
  • 3D Robotics logo

Paper Aircraft Released Into Space

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
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
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.