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Lester Haines

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Our plucky Playmonaut celebrates his riches with a bevy of beauties

NXT: The first SPAAAACE cryptocurrency

It's fair to say that our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission has attracted a broad spectrum of sponsors, and among those who've climbed aboard is NXT, which aims to be the first cryptocurrency into space, or at least the stratosphere. NXT is a Bitcoin rival launched in 2013, "currently positioned at #5 by …
Lester Haines, 20 Nov 2014

Vulture 2 spaceplane tumbles onto BBC World Service

We invite Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) fans to stick the kettle on, make a nice cuppa and enjoy a recent interview myself and Vulture 2 rocket motor wrangler Paul "Lord Shax" Shackleton did with Gareth Mitchell for the BBC World Service's Click. Good stuff, and we'd like to add that the Southampton Uni design boys …
Lester Haines, 18 Nov 2014

Pics in SPAAAACE!: Hasselblad sells for $275,000

The first Hasselblad camera to travel into space sold last week at auction for an astronomical $275,000. View of the first Hasselblad in space The first Hasselblad in space, and now sold for a cool $275K The 500c and 80mm Zeiss lens accompanied Walter M Schirra on the Mercury MA-8 mission in October 1962. Fellow astronaut …
Lester Haines, 17 Nov 2014

Give it up for SecQuest - a rabbit-hunting spaceplane sponsor

We invite Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) fans to give it up today for SecQuest, one of the magnificent corporate responders to our Kickstarter tin-rattling to take the Vulture 2 ballocket launch to Spaceport America. We'll be bringing you details on all our splendid sponsors in due course, but let's kick off with a …
Lester Haines, 17 Nov 2014
Selection of eggs on the bar

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg

It's been two years since we at El Reg's Special Projects Bureau brought hungry readers the last of our post-pub nosh deathmatches – a lively head-to-head featuring souse versus scrapple – and by popular demand we've decided to reheat the concept as part of Vulture Central's Weekend Edition. To recap, the idea was to present …
Lester Haines, 15 Nov 2014

Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG

It's Friday, so we invite those of you who are counting down the seconds until pub o'clock to spot the fatal concept error in the Alfah Mobile - "a small suction free attachment that attaches the back of your mobile device to your steering wheel or dashboard for convenience and hands free driving". This less-than-ingenious …
Lester Haines, 14 Nov 2014

Lindsay Lohan ignores El Reg's tender twitterly advances

We're distraught to report that thesp Lindsay Lohan has ignored a recent Twitter request for a few words on our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission - the audacious namesake ballocket initiative which will see her moniker written gloriously across the stratosphere. Our tweet to Lindsay Lohan No doubt Ms Lohan …
Lester Haines, 07 Nov 2014

First space Hasselblad goes under the hammer

The first Hasselblad camera to travel into space will go under the hammer next week, over 50 years after it was carried aloft by Walter M Schirra on the Mercury MA-8 mission. View of the first Hasselblad in space The first Hasselblad in space - yours for $10k+ Camera enthusiast Schirra bought the 500c and 80mm Zeiss lens at …
Lester Haines, 06 Nov 2014

Spaceplane fan sips sweet nectar from LOHAN's copious cup

We're obliged to spaceplane fan Mike Kimber for sending over the first evidence we've received of our magnificent Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mug in the wild, and being put to extremely laudable use. Mike wrote: "A while ago you published a recipe for a super strength mead in honour of the LOHAN project... Well …
Lester Haines, 05 Nov 2014

LOHAN test flight: Results in from Oz jury

Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) brain surgeons Linus Penzlien and Andrew Tridgell* have scrutinised the log flies from the recent test flight which saw a Pixhawk autopilot, batteries and servos (pictured below) sent aloft to 27,700m to determine in real-world conditions how the Vulture 2 spaceplane's bulging …
Lester Haines, 03 Nov 2014
Video still from Saturday's Edge flight

LOHAN avionics survive 27,700m stratospheric ordeal

It's beers all round today as we announce a successful final Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) test flight, which saw our Vulture 2 spaceplane's avionics rig sent to 27,700m over Colorado and return to terra firma in fine fettle. Video still from Saturday's Edge flight Our US allies at Edge Research Lab kindly …
Lester Haines, 28 Oct 2014

Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight

The matter of whether our Vulture 2 spaceplane's servos will freeze at altitude will be resolved on Saturday by our US allies at Edge Research Lab, when they send a complete spaceplane autopilot/battery/servo rig stratowards. Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) regulars will be aware we've been fretting about our …
Lester Haines, 24 Oct 2014
The SPB shirt in close-up

Luscious LOHAN t-shirts fly into Vulture Central

It's all go at Vulture Central today as skilled operatives prepare to ship our LOHAN Kickstarter reward t-shirts, which flew in the door late last week and will shortly be flying straight back out. We're sure those of you who stumped the cash for this top-notch apparel will be as pleased as we are with the finished products, …
Lester Haines, 21 Oct 2014

Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box

Amid all the LOHAN excitement over the last couple of weeks - which saw a right royal knees-up at Vulture Central, our audacious spaceplane mission crash-land on CNN and me apparently called "burly and bald" by Die Welt - we have actually been doing some real work ahead of our relocation to Spaceport America. LOHAN regulars will …
Lester Haines, 17 Oct 2014
Lester poses with the Vulture 2

LOHAN crash lands on CNN

It's a tip of the hat today to CNN, which has unleashed a news report nicely capturing the spirit of our audacious Low orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission. CNN operatives were down at Vulture Central last Friday during a right royal spaceplane knees-up, as was Nina Trentmann of Die Welt. Those of you of a German …
Lester Haines, 15 Oct 2014

Beers all round as Vulture 2 lands in Blighty

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has just about recovered from a lively night last Friday at Vulture Central, which saw mission sponsors, Register hacks and a select group of our individual Kickstarter backers mix it up with the international press. The spaceplane landed in Blighty a couple of weeks back …
Lester Haines, 14 Oct 2014

Tearful LOHAN Playmonaut bids adiós to Spain

Our plucky Playmonaut is feeling a tad emotional today as he prepares to bid adiós to Spain and travel to Blighty with the Vulture 2 spaceplane, before shipping out to Spaceport America. Our rocket ship is back in LOHAN's substantial box, which will on Monday once again cross the Bay of Biscay, en route to an encounter with the …
Lester Haines, 26 Sep 2014
The forward view from the aircraft in the stratosphere

US team claims PARIS paper plane launch crown

A US team has announced it's broken El Reg's Guinness World Record for the highest launch of a paper plane by releasing a substantial paper dart at 96,563ft (29,430m). A group of cadets from Fox Valley Composite Squadron of the Illinois Wing, Civil Air Patrol, sent their vehicle aloft on 13 September from Kankakee, Illinois, and …
Lester Haines, 23 Sep 2014

LOHAN wraps Kickstarter tin-rattling at £30,725

We invite all of you who backed our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission Kickstarter tin-rattling to award yourselves a beer or two, in celebration of the campaign closing yesterday at £30,750. Yup, a total of 653 generous souls gave it up for Spaceport America ballocket tomfoolery, and we very much appreciate …
Lester Haines, 22 Sep 2014
Our LOHAN mission patch design

Last chance to snaffle LOHAN Kickstarter goodies

There's just one day to run on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter tin-rattling, and as our plucky Playmonaut celebrates already hitting the £30,000 target needed to take the ballocket mission to Spaceport America, we're busy getting ready to ship our generous backers' magnificent rewards. If you haven't …
Lester Haines, 20 Sep 2014
Our Playmonaut celebrates with three members of his fan club

Plucky Playmonaut parties as LOHAN hits Kickstarter goal

It's with the traditional portentous drumroll and mighty fanfare of trumpets that we announce we've hit our Kickstarter target to take the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission to Spaceport America. Thanks very much to all our generous backers, and we're right on the case sorting the magnificent rewards which will …
Lester Haines, 19 Sep 2014

Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight

We're on final approach for the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) ballocket mission to touch down at Spaceport America. Since we're relocating Stateside, it seems appropriate that the final high-altitude test flight should be carried out by our US allies at Edge Research Laboratory. As we reported yesterday, we appear …
Lester Haines, 17 Sep 2014

Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS

It's with a great degree of relief that we can report today we appear to have cracked our Vulture 2 spaceplane's pesky servo power supply issue. As Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) regulars know, we were having a few issues with juice to our Pixhawk autopilot and servos. We originally had the whole rig powered from …
Lester Haines, 16 Sep 2014

LOHAN tin-rattles to a whopping £27,000 on Kickstarter

With six days left to run on our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter campaign to take the Vulture 2 ballocket mission to Spaceport America, we're tantalisingly close to hitting our £30k target. We thank the more than 560 backers who have so far chipped in for a total of 60 LOHAN sticker sets, 160 mugs, 120 …
Lester Haines, 15 Sep 2014
Our LOHAN mission patch design

Who wants to be there as history is made at the launch of our LOHAN space project?

As our Kickstarter campaign to get the Vulture 2 spaceplane off the ground at Spaceport America rattles along nicely, we're offering our final reward today: the chance for two people to meet the team in New Mexico, spend a few days and attend the historic launch. The way it works is this: you get yourself to the airport in El …
Lester Haines, 12 Sep 2014

It's official: LOHAN's arboreal avoidance algorithm is PANTS

It's official: Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) arboreal avoidance algorithm will henceforth be known as PANTS (Pixhawk Avoidance of Nearby Tree System). A round of applause and some mission stickers for Sir Sham Cad, who topped our poll to determine a suitable acronym for the sensational APM parameter …
Lester Haines, 12 Sep 2014

LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig

Our Kickstarter campaign to take the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission to Spaceport America in New Mexico is going tin-rattlingly well, but we still need a final drive to reach the target before we can start packing our bags. We've got plenty of goodies on offer as rewards for backers, and as an extra incentive …
Lester Haines, 11 Sep 2014

LOHAN enjoys some hot hardware-in-the-loop action

Take one spaceplane autopilot, a German brain surgeon, and throw a virtual Vulture 2 courtesy of a Tennessee X-Plane ace into the mix, and you've got the perfect recipe for some hot Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) action. Screen grab of the first Vulture 2 HIL simulation While we at SPB …
Lester Haines, 11 Sep 2014

LOHAN premieres spaceplane mission summary vid

Video summary of the entire LOHAN mission. In response to calls for a Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) summary video in support of our ongoing Kickstarter tin-rattling to launch the Vulture 2 spaceplane in New Mexico, we've put together a bare-bones overview of just how our audacious ballocket mission will work when …
Lester Haines, 08 Sep 2014

Vote NOW for LOHAN's arboreal avoidance algorithm acronym

As we recently reported, Vulture 2 brain surgeons Linus Penzlien and Andrew Tridgell are working on an advanced autopilot arboreal avoidance algorithm to combat the menace of magnetic trees, which prove strangely irresistible to balloon payloads and aircraft. This being LOHAN, tradition dictates that we christen the incredible …
Lester Haines, 05 Sep 2014

Beer in SPAAAACE: Photographic PROOF

We're delighted to report that rocket boffin Chris Smith has finally delivered photographic evidence of beer in space, a couple of months after he first dispatched a pint of London Pride to the stratosphere. A frozen pint of London Pride in the stratosphere Chris, of European Astrotech, launched his first flight in July from …
Lester Haines, 05 Sep 2014
Kati with the box on the scales

Crack team weighs LOHAN's substantial box

While our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project moves rapidly forwards on multiple fronts, it's worth noting that behind the scenes, there's plenty of grunt work going on that doesn't involve the excitement of strapping spaceplanes to van roofs, rescuing stranded Playmonauts or shaking Middle England. For example, …
Lester Haines, 04 Sep 2014
Our Vulture 2's dismantled avioncs

Our Vulture 2 rocket spaceplane crammed with MORE POWER

Our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane is in bits for the last time as we make the final modifications before declaring the aircraft fully operational - at least in the hardware department. Our Vulture 2's dismantled avioncs During a recent test, we identified a couple of problems - a dodgy port canard servo and a a lack of …
Lester Haines, 03 Sep 2014
External view of the Vulture 2, with launch rod

Vulture 2 X-Plane soars over Spaceport America

It's hats off to Tennessee X-Plane ace Billy Bargagliotti this fine Monday morning, as we announce he's wrapped no less than four virtual versions of our Vulture 2 rocket ship. Our Tennessee X-Plane ace Billy Bargagliotti Billy (above) answered our call back in June for someone to construct a virtual spaceplane, rolled out …
Lester Haines, 01 Sep 2014

Exclusive SPB t-shirt flies into Kickstarter

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter tin-rattling is, er, rattling along nicely, and we offer sincere thanks to those who've already chosen to back our audacious spaceplane ballocket launch in New Mexico. Our quality merchandising - which includes stickers, mugs and t-shirts - has been flying out of the …
Lester Haines, 29 Aug 2014

LOHAN wrapped in vinyl as Kickstarter campaign hits £18,000!

Our Kickstarter bid to raise £30,000 for the New Mexico launch of our Vulture 2 spaceplane hit £18,489 this morning (Monday 1 September), shortly after we took delivery of some sample Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) vinyl stickers. And very classy they look too. Here are a few suggestions as to how those pledging a …
Lester Haines, 28 Aug 2014

LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 spaceplane has taken a massive leap in transmitting power with the installation of a mighty 900MHz ultra long range radio module - the RFD 900u Radio Modem by Oz's RF Design. the RFD 900 rig The diminutive module plugs straight into the Pixhawk autopilot, replacing the …
Lester Haines, 28 Aug 2014

Nearly there! LOHAN Kickstarter pot o'gold breaks £29,000

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter campaign has reached a rip-roaring £29,000, as we build momentum towards the launch of the Vulture 2 spaceplane at Spaceport America, New Mexico. Thanks to all the backers who've so far snapped up our juicy rewards. If you haven't already shown your support, proceed …
Lester Haines, 27 Aug 2014

Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter campaign got off to a flying start over the weekend, attracting 160 backers who pledged a total of £6,000 toward the New Mexico launch of the Vulture 2 spaceplane. So inspiring was this first flush of support that our plucky Playmonaut and apprentice Special Projects …
Lester Haines, 26 Aug 2014
The LOHAN team poses with the Vulture 2

LOHAN Kickstarter bid IS GO: Back our Vulture 2 spaceplane launch

We're excited to announce that the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter campaign, which will fund the relocation of our audacious ballocket mission launch to Spaceport America, is now live. Following the reveal of our substantial mugs earlier today, we've given in to reader browbeating and have added an …
Lester Haines, 22 Aug 2014

Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole

Hats must be tipped today in tribute to Brit balloon bod Leo Bodnar, whose ultralight B-64 payload is about to complete its second circumnavigation of the planet. The 11g B-64 rig – comprising radio transmitter, LiPo battery and a couple of solar panels slung under a transparent film envelope (pics here) – launched on 12 July …
Lester Haines, 22 Aug 2014

LOHAN gets laughing gear round promotional mug

As we reported yesterday, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has scrapped plans to launch the Vulture 2 spaceplane above Europe and is instead taking its audacious ballocket mission to Spaceport America in New Mexico. To fund the basic extra costs of the relocation, we'll be rattling the tin down at Kickstarter …
Lester Haines, 22 Aug 2014
Our LOHAN mission patch design

LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!

The traditional portentous drumroll and fanfare of trumpets has added timpani and a throbbing bass synth crescendo today as we announce that the planned launch of our our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission has been relocated to New Mexico's Spaceport America. This shock news comes at the end of an epic struggle …
Lester Haines, 21 Aug 2014
Our playmonaut tries out a jetpack, watched by a circling vulture

Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run

Watch Video The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is still crunching numbers from last Friday's test run of the Vulture 2 spaceplane, which came at the end of an intensive week of brain surgery on the aircraft's Pixhawk autopilot. Hats off to Linus Penzlien and Andrew Tridgell for crafting and installing the …
Lester Haines, 19 Aug 2014

Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success

We're pleased to report that following four days of intense graft, including some hair-pulling over our Vulture 2 spaceplane's cantankerous Raspberry Pi rig, we've finally got some custom Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission parameters loaded into our rocket ship's Pixhawk autopilot. Linus Penzlien flew into Spain …
Lester Haines, 15 Aug 2014

Vulture 2 spaceplane brain surgery begins with remote incision

The programming of our Vulture 2 spaceplane's autopilot was going pedal to the metal yesterday as we finally resolved a cantankerous Raspberry Pi issue and got down to some proper Pixhawk wrangling. Linus Penzlien is in Spain to work with APM:Plane lead developer Andrew "Tridge" Tridgell on implementing some custom Low Orbit …
Lester Haines, 13 Aug 2014
The Pi in the Sky board mounted atop the Pi in the Vulture 2

Pi palaver perplexes LOHAN Pixhawk pair

The planned brain surgery on our Vulture 2 spaceplane's Pixhawk autopilot got off to a shaky start yesterday as the aircraft's onboard Raspberry Pi decided it didn't much fancy booting up. Autopilot wrangler Linus Penzlien touched down in Spain on Sunday ahead of an intensive week of graft during which he'll be working with APM: …
Lester Haines, 12 Aug 2014

LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms

We invite readers to raise a glass or two today to autopilot wrangler Linus Penzlien, who touched down in Spain yesterday afternoon ahead of an intensive week of Vulture 2 spaceplane Pixhawk custom parameter programming and testing. And here is the man himself meeting local lass Ruperta this morning ahead of an intensive …
Lester Haines, 11 Aug 2014

Fanfare of trumpets as LOHAN reveals mission patch

Cue the traditional portentous drumroll and fanfare of trumpets as we today reveal the final design for our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission patch. And here without further ado is the motif that will shortly be adorning flight suits and lab coats worldwide: Our LOHAN mission patch design Readers are …
Lester Haines, 08 Aug 2014

Check your Clungene, Irish women warned

Ireland's Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has advised any woman who's trying to get pregnant to check her Clungene, if indeed she's using the Chinese pregnancy test kit to confirm she's up the duff. In some cases, the product has been providing false positives, so just when you think your Clungene is telling you …
Lester Haines, 07 Aug 2014