Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/16/vulture_launch_platform/

LOHAN to straddle meaty titanium rod

Skirt lifted on cunning Vulture 2 launch plan

By Lester Haines

Posted in SPB, 16th March 2012 13:28 GMT

After much head-scratching, and a good number of beermat sketches, we're finally ready to unveil our concept for the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 launch platform.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicTo recap, we've been pondering just how to attach our spaceplane to the carbon-fibre fantastical flying truss which will carry it heavenwards.

Last weekend, we tested a balsa wood model of the truss, to determine whether we'd be using one meteorological balloon or two mighty orbs to provide the mission's vital lift.

The conclusion was that a single globe is the way to go, and having decided that, we could then move on to the thorny problem of mating Vulture 2 and truss.

Yesterday, we had a round-up of some of your suggestions, and the general consensus was that somehow suspending the aircraft from a single launch rod is the best way forward.

Well, here's how we think that will work. Bear in mind this is just a concept graphic, and not a scale drawing:

Graphic of our proposed Vulture 2 launch system (click for a larger version)

Some points of clarification:

Now, we can almost hear your keyboards clattering as you prepare your objections. Here's a list of pre-emptive answers to what we're sure you're poised to ask:

There's one final and critical feature of this set-up. We'll weight the truss so that it the event of premature balloon burst, it'll fall "nose-down". The Vulture 2 will simply slide off the rod, its weight breaking the rocket ignitor wires (not shown in pic), and it can then fly back to base, albeit without having fired its mighty thruster.

On the matter of the thruster, we know many of you are unconvinced the AeroTech RC 32/60-100NS is up to the job. Rest assured, we're exploring mightier alternatives.

So, it just remains to hand over the LOHAN Vulture 2 launch concept over to you, our beloved reader experts, for your opinion of our cunning plan. As you know, we always welcome intelligent comment and suggested improvements, so let us know what you think. ®

Further LOHAN resources:

A tip of the hat to our LOHAN associates