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LOHAN's Punch and Judy show: The big fat round-up

All the action from 'Baconur' - Blighty's renamed space flight centre

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So, back to Baconur for the launch:

Dave and Anthony fill the balloon for the Judy launch

The redacted section of the photograph contains a classified piece of equipment we are not at present at liberty to reveal, but rest assured the required security clearance is in the post.

Dave and Anthony tie off the filled balloon

Anthony and Lester with the Judy Payload and balloon

Yes indeed folks, I finally got to do a launch myself:

Lester with the Judy payload

Lester with the payload and balloon immediately before launch

Since Judy launched not long after Punch, it drifted in the same direction, and came down just 4km from the first payload, in the village of Ashton under Hill, following balloon burst at 27,939m. Here's the track on Google Earth (.kmz here), using data from an onboard back-up tracker.

The Judy payload track as seen on Google Earth

But hold on a minute, we hear you cry, what about the doomsday cut-down? Well, in a second Punch and Judy top comedy moment, when we decided to press the big red button, we didn't have a 3G connection in the pursuit vehicle.

As soon as we did, there was a problem sending the command, for reasons as yet undetermined. If the thing had worked, then Judy wouldn't have landed here...

The Judy landing site as seen on Google Earth

...with the balloon up a tree...

The Judy balloon hanging from a tree in Ashton under Hill

...and the payload and chute in a garden hedge:

The payload and parachute in a garden hedge

The garden gate was open, so I went in and knocked on the front door, but no one was home. Having pulled the remains of the balloon from the tree, and made certain the landing hadn't done any damage, I left it at that.

If you take a close look at the .kmz track, you can see that the payload then made its way to the local pub, where the tracker was turned off and much-needed beer was taken.

So, in summary, here's the outcome of the various mission elements:

  • SPEARS: Failed due to blown fuse
  • Punch payload mini camera: Successfully recorded 1h 12 min of in-flight video
  • Rocket motor heater: Worked as expected
  • Doomsday rig: Failed to establish connection, then went titsup
  • Judy payload video camera: Successfully recorded 40 min of video
  • Classified Judy payload: Awaiting results from the supplier

As this has been a bit of an epic round-up, we're preparing separate pieces on the SPEARS and BRASTRAP issues, the budget camera results, the rocket motor heater, and of course the classified device.

As ever, it's a tip of the hat to all the LOHAN team members for their sterling efforts, even if we evidently have more work ahead resolving the last few glitches. Suffice it to say, we're planning a "Punch 2" flight asap, for a second go at the rocket motor ignition. ®


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...

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Paper Aircraft Released Into Space

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