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Our intrepid party playmonaut on a sofa, surrounded by blondes

LOHAN laid bare in intimate interview

Fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project might enjoy an interview I did earlier this week with Christiaan van Vollenstee of DIY Drones. The chat, beamed live from the SPB's mountaintop HQ on Wednesday, features discussion of various aspects of our audacious ballocket mission and a particularly fine pair …
Lester Haines, 26 Jun 2014
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has decided that in the best tradition of space endeavour, our audacious Vulture 2 spaceplane mission needs a proper embroidered patch so that we may reach for the heavens in style. In fact, having something to sew on your flight suit/lab coat is pretty well obligatory, and …
Lester Haines, 14 Jul 2014
Grand Theft Auto Lindsay Lohan lookalike

Lindsay Lohan sues Grand Theft Auto V makers for 'using her image'

Actress Lindsay Lohan is suing game devs Rockstar and Take-Two for allegedly copying her into their Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV) game. Grand Theft Auto Lindsay Lohan lookalike Lohan claims that the character of the rather vapid actress "Lacey Jonas" in the game amounts to using her likeness without permission and has accused …
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

That stirring LOHAN motto: Anyone know a native Latin speaker?

We asked for it, and we got: in spades. In response to our call for a stirring motto for the proposed Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) embroidered mission patch, we were buried under suggestions from all corners of Regosphere diaspora. A proposed LOHAN mission patch Indeed, so great was the response that it's …
Lester Haines, 18 Jul 2014
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto

It's been a blast, but after some serious linguistic tomfoolery, the time has come to decide on a stirring motto to adorn our proposed Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission patch. A proposed LOHAN mission patch Thanks to everyone who contributed, and you can see how our beloved readers gave Latin a right shoeing …
Lester Haines, 25 Jul 2014

LOHAN's stirring motto: Ad Astra Tabernamque

It's official: The stirring motto for our audacious Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) ballocket mission is Ad Astra Tabernamque. The public vote came down firmly in favour of us heading both to the stars and the pub, and we're not going to argue with that. Per Cervisiam Ad Astra ("Through Beer To The Stars") and …
Lester Haines, 28 Jul 2014
The LOHAN team poses with the Vulture 2

LOHAN spaceplane 'Punch and Judy' test flights live online

If you're looking for some light entertainment this fine April morning, then tune in to the live launch of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Punch" and "Judy" test flights. Dave Akerman and I are at Blighty's Baikonur in Herefordshire, determined to get two mighty orbs aloft. The live feed from the launch site is …
Lester Haines, 10 Apr 2014

LOHAN seeks X-Plane bod for simulating relationship

If you're a dab hand with X-Plane's Plane-Maker who just happens to fancy eternal internet glory as part of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission, then today's your lucky day. The current state of play with our Vulture 2 spaceplane is that we've replaced the smoking servo which recently gave our plucky …
Lester Haines, 17 Jun 2014

LOHAN chap hooks up with busty stratominx in cosmic pleasure cruise

The Register's Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has expressed its shock and dismay that member Dave Akerman has chosen to play away from home with a lads' mag busty stratominx. Dave's a veteran of countless balloon launches, and is regularly approached by people in bars asking to be "taken to heaven and back". …
Lester Haines, 07 Mar 2014

LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday

Following last weekend's cancellation of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Punch" and "Judy" test flights due to high winds, the team is relieved to announce that Thursday morning is looking good for a second pop. Saturday's planned missions were scuppered by excessive gustiness at the Herefordshire launch site, …
Lester Haines, 09 Apr 2014

LOHAN gets intimate with 50,000 hot-blooded pilots

It's all go on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) avionics front, what with handsome young autopilots springing into life and Raspberry picams snapping fetching spaceplane selfies, so this seems like a good moment to point those in search of the more esoteric aspects of the mission in the direction of our DIY Drones …
Lester Haines, 19 Feb 2014

LOHAN's Punch and Judy show is GO for Saturday

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Punch" and "Judy" test flights are go for tomorrow (Saturday 5 April), and as ever we'll be streaming proceedings live over the interwebs so you make yourselves a nice cuppa, kick back and follow the action live from the comfort of your PC. First up, we have the Punch rocket motor …
Lester Haines, 04 Apr 2014

German brain surgeon flies in for vital LOHAN operation

We invite fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission to raise a foaming stein or two today to Linus Penzlien - the man who has recklessly volunteered to perform brain surgery on our Vulture 2 spaceplane's Pixhawk autopilot. Linus poses with a quadchopper Linus, 34, will fly from his native Hamburg to the …
Lester Haines, 17 Jul 2014
Close-up of the canards connections, with Playmonaut a miniature fireman

LOHAN in FIGHT to DEATH with brace of cantankerous canards

Our plucky Playmonaut is back in his seat in the Vulture 2 spaceplane following the recent servo meltdown which had prompted his rapid exit from the vehicle. The miniature emergency required a servo swap-out, and while we were about it, we decided to upgrade the linkages to the canards, and bolt the cantankerous forewings to the …
Lester Haines, 20 Jun 2014
Dave Akerman and Heston Blumenthal

Potato in SPAAAAACE: LOHAN chap cooks up stratospud with Heston Blumenthal

Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team member Dave Akerman confirmed his status as one of the UK's go-to guys* for high-altitude ballooning (HAB) launches when he popped up on Channel 4 last week in Heston Blumenthal's Great British Food series. Dave Akerman and Heston Blumenthal The celebrity food-botherer wanted …
Lester Haines, 07 May 2014
The LOHAN team prepares to launch yesterday

LOHAN hero playmonaut STRANDED on Spanish mountain

The Special Project Bureau's mountain rescue team has been mobilised today to recover our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) playmonaut – stranded since yesterday on the side of a Spanish mountain. What should have been a routine test flight to put our improved rocket motor igniter through its paces ended dramatically …
Lester Haines, 17 Sep 2013

LOHAN preps Vulture 2 for hot vinyl wrap

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has some good news and some bad news today. The good news is that we've finished the paint element of of Vulture 2 spaceplane's livery, and it looks absolutely magnificent. The bad news, for you lot at least, is that we're not going to show our beloved readers just how …
Lester Haines, 28 Mar 2014

LOHAN buffs body for sizzling vinyl wrap

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission continues to attract enthusiastic and expert support from around the world, and following the welcome news last week that we're getting a bit of help with the Vulture 2 spaceplane's autopilot, we're delighted to announce that said rocket ship is poised to get the sizzling …
Lester Haines, 25 Nov 2013
The LOHAN team poses with the Vulture 2

LOHAN test flight LIVE: All the launch action

As you read this, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is preparing the test flight of our all-new custom rocket motor igniter. We need to know once and for all if we can get a rocket motor to ignite at altitude, following our first pop back in July. That ended with the igniter's E-Match going bang, but with the …
Lester Haines, 16 Sep 2013

Reg readers fret over misty-eyed LOHAN

Our heads-up last week on the Vulture 2 spaceplane's miniature Raspberry Pi camera (Picam), prompted some readers to express concerns that we were heading for trouble in the imaging department. Here's the camera in question... A close-up of the Picam ...and here it is glued into the underside of the aircraft's nose: The …
Lester Haines, 17 Feb 2014

Punch and Judy face Blofeld in LOHAN doomsday box test

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 …
Lester Haines, 14 Mar 2014

LOHAN bloodhound unleashes solar-powered minitracker

Fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project with a particular interest in the radio electronics side of spaceplane missions will doubtless enjoy a first look at a new miniature tracker from team member Anthony Stirk - the sleek black PAVA 9. Anthony's PAVA 9 tracker Anthony's PAVA programme was inspired by …
Lester Haines, 19 Mar 2014
Double Facepalm; when one facepalm is not enough.

Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco

It's while standing in the corner of the room wearing pointy hats emblazoned with a big "D" that the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team admits today that the blown fuse which scuppered our recent Punch test flight actually went pop back in September last year. Youtube Video Yes indeed, during the test flight of …
Lester Haines, 16 Apr 2014

Cunning Reg reader cracks LOHAN hot coupling condundrum

We invite fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project to raise a glass or two today to the Reg reader who finally cracked the problem of just how to hook up our Vulture 2 spaceplanes's rocket motor heater. To summarise, we've got a space-grade Polyimide Thermofoil flexible heater wrapped round our aircraft's …
Lester Haines, 10 Jun 2014

LOHAN embraces handsome young autopilot

We invite fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project to raise a glass or two today to UAV specialist 3D Robotics, which has very kindly agreed to offer our Vulture 2 spaceplane a brain transplant in the form of the mighty Pixhawk autopilot. Two views of the 3D robotics Pixhawk As LOHAN regulars know, our …
Lester Haines, 04 Dec 2013
The LOHAN team prepares for launch this morning

Reg LOHAN spaceplane: Punch and Judy show in comedy non-explosive climax

It's with more than a degree of staring at the heavens in exasperation that we confirm what those of you watching the live coverage of yesterday's Punch and Judy test flights had already deduced - that the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team failed to make fire in the sky. Dave and Anthony prepare for launch as …
Lester Haines, 11 Apr 2014
Fire flames come from chamber as lid blows off

Middle England trembles before roaring LOHAN

There are only a few days left before our planned "Punch" and "Judy" flights on Saturday 5 April, so a slightly sooty Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is pleased to report that we've wrapped the final ground-based rocket motor tests in the Rocketry Experimental High Altitude Barosimulator (REHAB) hypobaric …
Lester Haines, 02 Apr 2014
The bare SPEARS PCB

Our second attempt to give LOHAN a good banging: Live tomorrow

The Register's mighty Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is gearing up for a second test flight of our Vulture 2 spaceplane's vital rocket motor igniter assembly, following Monday's dramatic first attempt which unfortunately ended on a Spanish mountainside without the essential test firing carried out. Click here …
Lester Haines, 18 Sep 2013

LOHAN spaceplane's budget minicam punches well above its weight

Watch Video They say good things come in small packages, and that's certainly true of the impressively titled "DBcam Hi-Resolution Micro Action Sports Video Camera", which soared heavenwards for a quick test during the recent Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Punch and Judy" test flights. It was the first time we'd …
Lester Haines, 25 Apr 2014
Close-up of the HackHD

US alliance strengthens LOHAN imaging arsenal

Watch Video Fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project know that we've recently been working on the spaceplane mission's imaging capability, with airborne tests of the budget DBcam and the prototype CENTR Camera four-eyed panoramic beast. Amid all this excitement, we expressed doubts about our GoPro 3, …
Lester Haines, 09 May 2014

LOHAN develops amazing mind-reading powers

There's been a lull in the flighting on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) front over Xmas and New Year, but the team has emerged from the festivities revitalised and ready for action. In December, we announced that 3D Robotics had kindly agreed to supply the mission with an all-new Pixhawk autopilot, to replace the …
Lester Haines, 17 Jan 2014
Another grab showing images from the camera at altitude

Classified LOHAN payload is four-eyed beast

As regular readers know, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team likes a nice bit of imaging kit, and we can now reveal that the classified payload which flew atop our recent "Judy" test flight was in fact a prototype four-eyed beast capable of capturing hi-def panoramic video. The chaps from CENTR Camera got in …
Lester Haines, 02 May 2014
Paper Aircraft Released Into Space

LOHAN doomsday box dubbed BRASTRAP

The results of our reader poll are in, and we're delighted to report that our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) doomsday box will forthwith be officially known as the Big Red Abort Switch To Release Aerial Payload, aka BRASTRAP. Dave Akerman's emergency cut-down box So, it's congratulations to reader Steve Davis for …
Lester Haines, 12 Sep 2013
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

Reg Latin scholars scrap over LOHAN's stirring motto

It's fair to say that the quest for a stirring motto for our proposed Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission patch is proving to be the most fun we've had in a long while. A proposed LOHAN mission patch So great was the response to our call for suggestions that we're buried under a magnus congestus of Latin, a …
Lester Haines, 23 Jul 2014

Live now: LOHAN igniter test flight

The Register's mighty Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is, as you read this, in the field preparing a second test flight of our Vulture 2 spaceplane's rocket motor igniter assembly, following Monday's dramatic first attempt which ended on a Spanish mountainside following premature balloon burst. Click here for a …
Lester Haines, 19 Sep 2013

LOHAN's mighty thruster poised for hot coupling

As the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team preps our Vulture 2 spaceplane for a quick paintjob, we're still mulling just how best to connect the aircraft's rocket motor heater to its external battery supply. To rewind for those of you who may have inexplicably missed the LOHAN hot coupling excitement, we've got a …
Lester Haines, 04 Nov 2013
The canards bolted to the Vulture 2, with Playmonaut in his seat

Experts suspiciously eye LOHAN's cantankerous canards

As ever, we're grateful for our reader experts' feedback on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission, and today we have a round-up of your comments on the Vulture 2 spaceplane's cantankerous canards. As we reported last month, the aircraft's forewings have finally been tamed, and here they are attached to the …
Lester Haines, 03 Jul 2014

LOHAN team gears up for Punch and Judy show

It's all go on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) front as the British contingent of the team gears up for the forthcoming "Punch" and "Judy" test flights. On 5 April, we'll assemble at the new "Blighty's Baikonur" (formerly in Berkshire, now relocated to Herefordshire) to launch two balloon payloads. The first …
Lester Haines, 31 Mar 2014

Heroic Playmonaut wowed by LOHAN's bulging package

Following the recent successful fitting and testing of our Vulture 2 spaceplane's Raspberry Pi and Picam rig, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is relieved to announce that we've wrapped the permanent installation of the rest of the aircraft's avionics. What's more, our heroic Playmonaut now has the proper …
Lester Haines, 10 Mar 2014
Dave Akerman's emergency cut-down box

Vote NOW to name LOHAN doomsday box

Right, you lovely people, the time has come to name our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) doomsday box – the device which will, if required, command the mission's onboard Iridium-Arduino sandwich to release the mighty helium-filled orb carrying our Vulture 2 spaceplane aloft in case of emergency. Dave Akerman's …
Lester Haines, 06 Sep 2013

LOHAN chap brews up 18% ABV 'V2' rocket fuel

It hasn't escaped some readers' attention that our Vulture 2 spaceplane's moniker might handily be abbreviated to "V2", which got Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team member Paul "Lord Shax" Shackleton thinking about rocket fuel, and indeed fuel for the human elements of our audacious ballocket mission. Hitler's …
Lester Haines, 26 Feb 2014
The LOHAN team poses with the Vulture 2

LOHAN Spanish team touches down... to prepare for lift-off

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team members touched down in Madrid last Thursday night, and after a few beers and some refreshing kip, were ready to pose for the camera before getting down to spaceplane business. The LOHAN team poses with the Vulture 2 Above (from left to right) we have Rob Eastwood, Claire …
Lester Haines, 16 Sep 2013

Cheeky LOHAN chaps in gutsy snatch at El Reg's paper spaceplane crown

In an audacious and extremely cheeky high altitude operation over the weekend, Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team members Dave Akerman and Anthony Stirk had a pop at our Guinness World Record for the highest-altitude paper plane launch. The SNOW aircraft The underside of the SNOW aircraft The pair's SNOW …
Lester Haines, 31 Dec 2013

LOHAN cops a faceful of Raspberry Pi

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is methodically working its way through the installation of the Vulture 2 spaceplane's electronic systems, and having got the Pixhawk autopilot up and running, we were able to turn our attention this week to the onboard Raspberry Pi. LOHAN regulars will know that we use a …
Lester Haines, 14 Feb 2014
Picture by Afonso Lima

LOHAN's vital statistics splashed across fruity display

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission has just been served an extra slice of Raspberry Pi in the form of an all-singing, all-dancing balloon chase system. Hydrogen helium head honcho and electronics wrangler Dave Akerman decided haring around the countryside in pursuit of mighty orbs would be a whole lot easier …
Lester Haines, 22 Oct 2013

LOHAN's handsome young autopilot springs into life

It's been a couple of weeks since the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team took delivery of a brand-spanking new 3D Robotics Pixhawk autopilot for the Vulture 2 spaceplane, and we've now whipped out our original ArduPilot Mega (APM) 2.6 and hooked up the new kit for a quick test. Here's the Pixhawk up and running …
Lester Haines, 06 Feb 2014

Final LOHAN test flights codenamed 'Punch' and 'Judy'

The grand finale of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) saga is approaching, and is now so tantalisingly close you could almost reach out and stick a match to it. It's been a long, winding road, to be sure, but we still have a few things to wrap before we can finally see what happens when you stick a rocket motor in …
Lester Haines, 25 Feb 2014
The Space Graphics Solutions team poses with the wrapped Vulture 2

LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane

Cue the traditional portentous drumroll and fanfare of trumpets as we reveal today the finished livery of our Vulture 2 spaceplane – a provocative combination of paint job and vinyl wrap which is, frankly, the mutt's nuts. Fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project will recall we asked readers back in …
Lester Haines, 19 Apr 2014
Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic

LOHAN cops a faceful of smutronyms

There's nothing quite like a Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) backronym challenge to bring out the sniggering schoolboy in our beloved spaceplane fans. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic Earlier this week, we challenged you lot to come up with a snappy name for our mission abort box - in the best …
Lester Haines, 05 Sep 2013

3D printers stroke LOHAN's shapely midriff

Those UK readers living close to rapid prototyping firm 3T RPD Ltd's Newbury headquarters are invited to open their windows and listen for a distant whirring sound as our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 spaceplane is meticulously hewn from the living nylon. Last week, the crack team of Southampton Uni …
Lester Haines, 21 Aug 2013