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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

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
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
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

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
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
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

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
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

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
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

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

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

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

In case of LOHAN flight emergency, gobble THIS Iridium-Arduino sandwich

We recently reported that we'd laid our grubby mitts on a second RockBLOCK Irdidium satellite comms unit - courtesy of Rock Seven. Top and bottom views of the RockBLOCK The RockBLOCK, pictured above, can "send and receive short messages from anywhere on Earth with a view of the sky", and it's this latter capability which has …
Lester Haines, 20 Aug 2013
The Register breaking news

LOHAN seeks rocketeer for explosive relationship

Despite an apparent lull of late on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) front, we are moving apace towards finally getting our Vulture 2 aircraft aloft. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic There have been some dramatic developments recently regarding a launch site for our audacious ballocket mission …
Lester Haines, 08 Mar 2013
The painted nose of the Vulture 2, with its yellow upper and led underside

LOHAN sees bright red over Vulture 2 paintjob

It's been a week of tin-rattling and seeing red here at the Special Project Bureau's mountaintop headquarters as we finally knuckled down to slapping some paint on our Vulture 2. We threw the matter of our magnificant spaceplane's livery over to you, our beloved Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) fans, and you responded …
Lester Haines, 13 Nov 2013
Top and bottom views of the RockBLOCK

LOHAN lays mitts on second Iridium sat comms kit

We're pleased to announce that the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has got its grubby mitts on a second Iridium satellite comms unit, courtesy of Rock Seven. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic Those of you who've been following our audacious spaceplane mission will recall we took delivery of …
Lester Haines, 02 Aug 2013
Blofeld's white cat

LOHAN twangs BRASTRAP to unfetter mighty orbs

Capping a hectic month for the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team - in which we revealed the magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane, rescued our heroic playmonaut from the side of a Spanish mountain and finally got a rocket motor igniter to go bang at 20,000m - we're delighted to report that the Big Red Abort Switch To …
Lester Haines, 27 Sep 2013
Dave Akerman's emergency cut-down box

Our LOHAN rocket ship team exits Spain with a bang

It's been a hell of a couple of weeks at the Special Project Bureau's mountaintop headquarters, as we took delivery of our Vulture 2 spaceplane, welcomed the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team to sunny Spain and then spent a frantic 10 days putting things together, blowing stuff up and rescuing lost playmonauts …
Lester Haines, 23 Sep 2013
The Register breaking news

Readers, we need you... for LOHAN ignition failsafe brainwaves

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is inviting experts among our super readers to submit final proposals for a back-up ignition system for our Vulture 2 spaceplane's mighty rocket motor. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic As SPB ballocket regulars know, the primary system designed to light …
Lester Haines, 19 Apr 2013

Flab-fighting LOHAN fettles fantastical flying truss

Amid all the excitement surrounding the imminent appearance of the Vulture 2 spaceplane, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has been beavering away on the fantastical flying truss which will carry our magnificent aircraft heavenwards. For LOHAN newbies, and those of you who haven't been paying attention at the …
Lester Haines, 19 Aug 2013

LOHAN team girds loins, aims to take SPEARS to heaven again

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is girding its loins ahead of this weekend's second test flight of the Special Project Electronic Altitude Release System (SPEARS) control board. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic SPEARS is designed to fire the Vulture 2 space plane's rocket motor by means …
Lester Haines, 08 Jul 2013
The Register breaking news

LOHAN team regroups for second pop at SPEARS

Fans of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) spaceplane project should mark Saturday 13 July in their diaries, because that's when our elite team will once again assemble in Blighty's Baikonur* for the second test flight of the Special Project Electronic Altitude Release System (SPEARS) board. Click here for a bigger …
Lester Haines, 04 Jun 2013
The Register breaking news

LOHAN premieres intimate REHAB vid

As the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team continues to advance inexorably on various front towards the launch of our Vulture 2 spaceplane, we've taken a bit of time to look back at our REHAB experiment. LOHAN fans will know that the purpose of the Rocketry Experimental High Altitude Barosimulator was to test solid …
Lester Haines, 25 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

LOHAN to join mile-high club with BRITNEY or NAOMI?

The time has arrived to officially name the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission control board - the electronic heart of our audacious ballocket spaceplane mission. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic Ta very much to all those readers who chipped in with acronym/backronym suggestions, even if a …
Lester Haines, 16 Nov 2012
A montage of our LOHAN cameras

LOHAN slowly strips lens caps off hi-def imaging arsenal

It's all go at the Special Projects Bureau's mountaintop headquarters as we await the imminent delivery of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 spaceplane, currently being hewn from the living nylon down at 3T RPD Ltd. We've got plenty to be getting on with while we wait for the bloke in the big white …
Lester Haines, 04 Sep 2013

Raspberry Picam magic: More snaps from LOHAN's fruity eye in the sky

A Sony factory in South Wales churned out its millionth Raspberry Pi this week, so we thought it would be a good moment to bring readers more from our "Pi In The Sky" camera rig, which has performed to spectacular effect during test flights for our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission. Click here for a bigger …
Lester Haines, 11 Oct 2013
The LOHAN team prepares for launch this morning

LOHAN's Punch and Judy show: The big fat round-up

The dust has pretty well settled on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Punch and Judy test flights, and we now present for your further entertainment a round-up of the two missions. Watch Video As you can see from the above timelapse video of the launches last Thursday, we did finally get off the ground after a …
Lester Haines, 16 Apr 2014
The Register breaking news

Lindsay Lohan storm over Hitler, Hurricane tweets: 'It was hackers'

Actress Lindsay Lohan has blamed hackers for posting a frankly-odd Hitler themed Twitter update to her profile. The deleted tweet stated: “How does Hitler tie his shoes? from @oatmeal”, SecurityFAQs reports. Later on Wednesday LiLo apologised to the 4.5 million plus followers to her micro-blogging feed. "My twitter was hacked, …
John Leyden, 01 Nov 2012
The Register breaking news

LOHAN enfolds SPEARS in passionate embrace - explicit unclad pics

It's official: the control board of our audacious Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) spaceplane mission will forthwith be known as the "Special Project Electronic Altitude Release System", or SPEARS to its mates. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic A Reg reader vote came down firmly in favour of …
Lester Haines, 19 Nov 2012

LOHAN rocket motor igniter goes pop at 20,000m

Fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission will know that the issue of getting a rocket motor to fire at altitude has given our Vulture 2 spaceplane team plenty of sleepless nights. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic Last year, we constructed the Rocketry Experimental High Altitude …
Lester Haines, 26 Sep 2013
The Register breaking news

LOHAN slips BRA over BOOBIES in ballocket backronym buffoonery

Our invitation to readers to come up with a snappy acronym/backronym for our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission's electronic control board appears to have awoken the sniggering schoolboy inside some of you. Special Projects Bureau tradition dictates that we have an entertaining moniker for our endeavours, hence …
Lester Haines, 09 Nov 2012
The Register breaking news

LOHAN is GO! Reg spaceplane BLASTS OFF on 14 September

We're absolutely delighted to announce that our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) spaceplane mission is cleared for blastoff on 14 September. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic Yes indeed, ballocket fans, the time is almost nigh to dispatch the Vulture 2 heavenwards towards its date with aeronautical …
Lester Haines, 23 May 2013
The Register breaking news

LOHAN hooks up with top-flight rocketeer

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is delighted to announce our audacious ballocket mission now has a top-flight rocketeer on board to handle the power plant for our Vulture 2 spaceplane. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic So, ladies and gentlemen, raise your glasses to welcome Paul …
Lester Haines, 15 Mar 2013
The Register breaking news

LOHAN teases with quick flash of spaceplane

It's with a portentous drumroll and fanfare of trumpets that we reveal today the design of our Vulture 2 spaceplane - the rocket-powered vehicle at the centre of our audacious Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) ballocket mission. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic At the end of 2011, a heavyweight …
Lester Haines, 31 Jan 2013

Watch LIVE tomorrow: LOHAN team attempts second pop at SPEARS

This afternoon, The Register's Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team will assemble in Blighty's Baikonur (aka Brightwalton, Berkshire) ahead of tomorrow's flight of the Special Project Electronic Altitude Release System (SPEARS) control board. Specifically, this is a test flight to check that the aforementioned …
Lester Haines, 12 Jul 2013
The Register breaking news

LOHAN's mighty orb launch live NOW

Today's Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) balloon launch is go, and you can follow the ground preparations in Berkshire live right now, right here - courtesy of the chaps at batc.tv There are full details on the mission team and payload here. To summarise, the primary objective is to see whether our Special Project …
Lester Haines, 01 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

LOHAN lifts lid on revised mission summary

Over the past few months, our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) spaceplane mission has been evolving with the help of you, our beloved reader experts. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic We've mulled various balloon configurations and launch platforms, checked out a possible rocket motor for the …
Lester Haines, 11 Apr 2012
The Register breaking news

LOHAN dives into Reg forums mosh pit

At the behest of reader Joeman, there's now a Reg forum open into which which you can throw your Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) comments and/or suggestions. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic We reckon this is a better place to slog it out than in comments on individual stories, because we find we …
Lester Haines, 12 Apr 2012
The Register breaking news

LOHAN serves up Raspberry Pi sensorgasmotry

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is battling away on several fronts ahead of next month's launch of the Vulture 2 spaceplane, and while there's still plenty of work to do, we do at least have the mission electronics fit for duty. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic Our recent test flight of …
Lester Haines, 01 Aug 2013