Feeds

Punch and Judy face Blofeld in LOHAN doomsday box test

Black leather chair? Check. White Persian cat? Check

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

As we recently announced, the British contingent of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team will assemble in Blighty on 5 April for the final test flights before the launch of our Vulture 2 spaceplane.

Watch Video

The first stratomission, dubbed "Punch", will lift a small Cesaroni rocket motor to 20,000m to definitively establish if we can get ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP) to ignite at altitude with a kick up the backside from our custom igniter.

The second flight, named "Judy", will test the space-grade Polyimide Thermofoil flexible heater rig, intended to keep the spaceplane's full-fat Cesaroni 54mm 3G toasty.

While all of this promises top entertainment, it occurred to us that we might as well use the Judy flight to take the Big Red Abort Switch To Release Aerial Payload (BRASTRAP) doomsday box out for a spin.

BRASTRAP is designed to provide an emergency balloon cut-down should the LOHAN payload threaten centres of civilisation.

The box of doom itself was constructed by LOHAN team member Dave Akerman...

Dave Akerman's emergency cut-down box

..and packs a Raspberry Pi...

The interior of the BRASTRAP doomsday box

...programmed to send an abort text message via wireless net connection to a RockBLOCK Iridium satellite comms unit aboard the LOHAN fantastical flying truss's electronic enclosure: Top and bottom views of the RockBLOCK

Once the RockBLOCK's got the message, it commands an attached Arduino Mini Pro to fire a pyrotechnic cut-down using a MOSFET:

Top and bottom views of the RockBLOCK-Arduino sandwich

There's more on the RockBLOCK-Arduino sandwich, and just how the abort system works, right here, and work it certainly does.

Back In September last year, we did a ground-based doomsday test featuring, agreeably, a pair of pliers. The cut-down itself was put together by Rob Eastwood and Paul Shackleton, and comprises a stainless steel tube with a hole through which the payload suspension cable passes.

A steel bolt inside the tube, driven by explosive charge trigged by E-Match, blasts its way across the cable aperture, severing the cable and cutting free the payload.

Montage of video stills of the cut-down firing

Quality stuff, although it'd be nice to check if it's as impressive up in the stratosphere.

Since the Judy flight doesn't have to hit any particular altitude, we'll use BRASTRAP to release the payload after an hour or so, by which time we'll have recorded enough temperature data from the rocket motor heater.

We're currently sourcing a black leather chair and white Persian cat for Dave, so he has the proper accessories for pushing the big red button. We'll draw lots to see just who cops the piranha pool plunge in the event the doomsday box system goes titsup and someone has to "pay the price of failure". ®


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
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter breaks NINETEEN THOUSAND of your EARTH POUNDS
That's right, OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.