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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
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

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
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
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
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

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

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
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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

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
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

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

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

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
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
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'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

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
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

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

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
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
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 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
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

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
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
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

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