Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/05/lohan_camera/

LOHAN poses for sexy wide-angle vid

El Reg fondles news spaceplane mission kit

By Lester Haines

Posted in SPB, 5th September 2012 08:03 GMT

There's always a frisson of excitement when we take delivery of some new kit at the Special Project Bureau's mountaintop headquarters, and last week the bloke with the big white van drew up at the door to drop off the latest piece of Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) kit - a GoPro HD HERO2 camera.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicThe HERO is a tried-and-trusted device for High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) missions, and one belonging to LOHAN electronics board chap Anthony Stirk recently soared heavenwards as part of Dave Akerman's Pi in the Sky flight.

Weighing in at just 98g, the HERO can record 1920×1080px at 30FPS with a field of view of 170°. That's very wide indeed, ideal if you're thinking of attaching to a fantastical flying truss to grab the launch of a rocket-powered spaceplane.

It's also nice and compact, as you can see in this snap with our very own Paris Hilton:

The HERO2 with our Playmobil Paris Hilton

Naturally, no sooner was the motorsports edition of the HERO out of the box, than it was atop the SPB's van with its waterproof mount and suction cup mount...

The HERO2 with its suction cup mount atop the van

...and we were off for a quick jaunt to see how it performed. Here are three stills from the resulting vid:

A viewof Barco de Avila from the GoPro HERO2, mounted on top of the van

The PARIS launch site see from the GoPro HERO2

A view of the mountains from the GoPro HERO2 camera atop the van

Savvy readers will recognise the location of the second image. It's the Peña Negra, launch site of our Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) mission.

Here's a swift compilation of some of the footage as we made our way up to the Peña Negra.

Watch Video

If that's a bit pedestrian for you, try this version - the entire 60km drive in around three minutes.

Well, we can't argue with the HERO2. Battery life is reckoned to be around two-and-a-half hours, although there is the option to connect a external battery if required. To do this, we'd need the skeleton housing to access the USB charging input. This case has the added advantage of not being airtight, and as experienced HAB enthusiasts know, hermetically sealing cameras at altitude is not advised, due to misting inside the casing.

The HERO joins two veteran PARIS cameras in our imaging arsenal, the Kodak Zx1 and Canon PowerShot A560:

The Kodak Zx1, Canon PowerShot A560 and FlyCamOne

Also seen above is our unused FlyCamOne. The Vulture 2 will be packing two FlyCamOne eco V2 versions of this camera, which can be controlled by the spaceplane's autopilot.

The PowerShot was given the Canon Hack Development Kit treatment for PARIS, and runs a 10-second intervalometer script, which grabbed us some nice snaps over Spain:

An aerial image of Spain from our Canon stills camera

Another aerial image of Spain from our Canon stills camera

A third aerial shot from the Canon

The Zx1 is, of course, the camera which captured the historic launch of the Vulture 1 back in 2010:

Watch Video

So, it's now just a matter of lights, cameras, action... ®

Further LOHAN resources:

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