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Nuon Day Two

Nuon, Tokai maintain six-race rivalry

Day Two of the World Solar Challenge has ended with only a handful of the vehicles reaching the checkpoint at Ti Tree, north of Alice Springs. The leading vehicle remains Nuon from the Netherlands (1,340 km covered), followed by Tokai University (1,332 km) and Team Twente (1,295 km). Stanford and the University of Michigan round …
Team Nuon Day One

Dutch oven overcooked in World Solar Challenge

After a stellar start to the World Solar Challenge, the fancied Nuon team from Delft has had to cop a ten minute penalty for breaking speed limits, while Japan's Tokai University entrant has been given a more serious 30 minute penalty. The penalties will probably put Solar Team Twente (also from The Netherlands) in the lead at …
The University Malaysia Pahang team world solar challenge car

Wacky racers – The Reg's guide to 2013's Solar Challengers

World Solar Challenge The World Solar Challenge kicks off today, with 36 solely-solar-powered cars about to attempt a 3,000km journey across Australia from the northern city of Darwin to Adelaide in the south. The Reg is following the race – and making some odd side trips you'll learn about soon – but with the cars on the starting line we felt it …
Artist's rendering of Resolution in the Outback. Pic:  Cambridge University Eco Racing

Cambridge withdraws from World Solar Challenge

World Solar Challenge Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER), Britain's sole entrant in the trans-continental World Solar Challenge starting tomorrow in Australia, has withdrawn its “Resolution” vehicle from the race. CUER entered the race with an innovative design featuring tilting solar panels, the better to catch the maximum amount of solar energy …
Artist's rendering of Resolution in the Outback. Pic:  Cambridge University Eco Racing

Unknown Aussie and Dutch family car spring solar surprise

World Solar Challenge Fancied teams have been shaded by dark horse entries at the time trial prologue to the 2013 World Solar Challenge. Professor John Storey, the event's Chief Scientist, told The Reg the USA's University of Michigan, Japan's Tokai University, Italy's Onda Solare and Sweden's Jönköping University as teams to watch. Yet None featured …

The Vulture 2: What paintjob should we put on our soaraway spaceplane?

Our Vulture 2 spaceplane has risen majestically from the powdered nylon, but there's one matter yet to be resolved before we get it in the air: what colour scheme best suits this magnificent aircraft? Here's our vehicle fully assembled, with Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator team members (from L-R) Dave Akerman, Rob Eastwood, …
Lester Haines, 4 Oct 2013

Sun-seeking Cambridge boffins chase Solar Challenge car crown

World Solar Challenge Next Sunday sees the starter's flag fall on the 2013 World Solar Challenge, and on the grid in Darwin will be Cambridge University Eco Racing's Resolution - a sleek carbon-fibre monocoque chassis solar-powered vehicle, featuring a "game-changing" solar tracking system. Artist's rendering of Resolution in the Outback. Pic: …
Lester Haines, 4 Oct 2013
The Kinder Surprise experiment pods in their lifting tray. Pic: SEA

Missing Brit SPACE HEDGEHOG RISES from the GRAVE

Pics The Brit space hedgehog which went missing back in March during a high-altitude ballooning mission has miraculously been recovered, battered and bruised but otherwise intact. CASSiE (Cosmic Ambassador for Space Science and Engineering) took off from Frome in Somerset as part of the MARSBalloon project to send student experiment …
Lester Haines, 1 Oct 2013
The inside structure of the rear fuselage

Our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane: Intimate snaps

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is gearing up to get our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane airborne, and while we fiddle with servos and autopilots, we thought you might enjoy a few intimate snaps of the world's first 3D-printed, rocket-powered aircraft. Before we get down to to it, it's hats off once again …
Lester Haines, 30 Sep 2013
World Solar Challenge Route

All roads lead to Darwin ahead of solar challenge flag-fall

World Solar Challenge Australia's second Cruiser-class entry for the World Solar Challenge has joined the teams converging on Darwin for next weekend's start of the World Solar Challenge. TAFE SA's SolarSpirit 3 is the technical education body's third shot at the challenge, and its compliance with the Cruiser rule that there have to be at least three …
Top and bottom views of the RockBLOCK

LAST CHANCE to get yer cut-price Iridium satellite comms unit

Reader offer Before heading off to the pub for a well-deserved pint this fine Friday, we'd like to remind readers that you only have a few days left to get 10 per cent off a Rock Seven RockBLOCK Iridium satellite comms unit, as used by our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team, as part of its emergency abort system. Top and …
Lester Haines, 27 Sep 2013
Blofeld's white cat

LOHAN twangs BRASTRAP to unfetter mighty orbs

Pics+Vid 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

LOHAN rocket motor igniter goes pop at 20,000m

Pics+Vid 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
Dave Akerman's emergency cut-down box

Our LOHAN rocket ship team exits Spain with a bang

Pics+Vid 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 components of our Vulture 2 laid out before assembly

Our sensational rocket ship Vulture 2 REVEALED: LIVE at 3pm

Cue the traditional fanfare of trumpets, because this afternoon at 3pm UK time, we'll be whipping the covers off our sensational Vulture 2 craft for the first time: so you can get an idea of just what the world's first 3D-printed, rocket-powered spaceplane looks like. Here's the beast in component form last week, straight out of …
Lester Haines, 20 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
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
A view from the main payload GoPro

DRAMA at 75,000 FEET: Our Playmonaut's TERROR PLUNGE from EDGE of SPACE

Pics We're delighted to report that our plucky Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) playmonaut pilot is safe and well, following his dramatic rescue yesterday from a Spanish mountainside. What started as a routine test flight of the igniter for our Vulture 2 spaceplane's rocket motor, launched in perfect conditions southwest …
Lester Haines, 18 Sep 2013
The LOHAN team prepares to launch yesterday

LOHAN hero playmonaut STRANDED on Spanish mountain

Pic 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
ETS World Solar Challenge entry

North American teams land in Oz to race for the sun

World Solar Challenge Canada is about to dispatch its World Solar Challenge entry on its trip to Darwin, with the Ecole de Technologie Supérieure of Montréal – ÉTS – sending its tubular Eclipse 8 on its way. The Canadian team offers a stark contrast to the comforts of the Cruiser class, and even to most of the Challenger class cars. Its weight …
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
Spain

Radioaficionados españoles: Echadnos una mano

Este lunes 16 de septiembre a las 2 de la tarde el equipo LOHAN (Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator) lanzará un globo meteorológico cerca de Piedrahita (Avila). Necesitamos la ayuda de los radioaficiondos españoles y portugueses para recibir señales de nuestros cuatro transmisores a bordo: CHAV (434.075MHz), BUZZ (434.200MHz …
Lester Haines, 16 Sep 2013
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
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
Team Arrow WSC vehicle

SolAce, Team Arrow inch towards Solar Challenge starting line

World Solar Challenge The University of Western Sydney will soon be heading north with its World Solar Challenge entrant, while in Queensland, Team Arrow is getting ready for a pre-race public run on the weekend of 14 September. The UWS team, SolAce, under construction since 2011, had its public launch on August 29 at the university's Parramatta …
Ther unopened box containing our Vulture 2 spaceplane

Here at last, our 3D beauty: Vulture 2 spaceplane flies in

Cue the traditional portentous drumroll, fanfare of trumpets and roar of the crowd as we announce that yesterday evening, a bloke in a white van rolled up to the door of the SPB's mountaintop headquarters bearing a big box... The unopened box containing our Vulture 2 spaceplane ....containing the components of the Low Orbit …
Lester Haines, 11 Sep 2013
The French rocket contingency pose for a group shot

In pictures: El Reg hooks up with rain-lashed Spanish rocketeers

Take one muddy airfield, persistent rain and a cluster of brave souls huddled under pop-up gazebos and you've got the perfect recipe for a rocketry shindig. "You've brought the weather from your country, then," quipped one member of the Spanish tentacle of the Tripoli Rocketry Association as I rolled up on Sunday morning to a …
Lester Haines, 11 Sep 2013

Ultralight party balloons in WEEK-LONG marathon flight

A couple of ultralight balloon payloads have for the past week traced suggestive paths over Europe, and continue to transmit from the skies over Belarus and Bulgaria (click pic for a bigger version): The rather phallic tracks of the balloons seen on spacenear.us Leo Bodnar's B-11 and B-12 missions were launched from Blighty's …
Lester Haines, 9 Sep 2013

Vulture 2 autopilot reports for duty

As you can imagine, it's all go here at the Special Projects Bureau's mountaintop headquarters ahead of the imminent arrival of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic Blokes in white vans have been bowling up to the door for the past month, their couriers' …
Lester Haines, 9 Sep 2013
Dave Akerman's emergency cut-down box

Vote NOW to name LOHAN doomsday box

Poll 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, 6 Sep 2013
The 'Little Nellie' autogyro used in the Bond film 'You Only Live Twice', with designer Ken Wallis at the controls

Autogyro legend Ken Wallis hangs up wings at 97

Wing Commander Ken Wallis, who soared to international fame at the controls of James Bond's Little Nellie, has died at the age of 97. The former RAF Wellington bomber pilot passed away at his home in Norfolk on Sunday, the end of an illustrious career which saw him set the 3km speed record for autogyros (207.7km/h), and - most …
Lester Haines, 5 Sep 2013
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, 5 Sep 2013
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, 4 Sep 2013
Top and bottom views of the RockBLOCK

WIN a RockBLOCK Iridium satellite comms module

Competition As followers of our epic Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project will know, we recently laid our grubby mitts on a RockBLOCK Iridium satellite comms unit, courtesy of Rock Seven, and we're now giving one linguistically deft reader the chance to do the same. Top and bottom views of the RockBLOCK In fact, this is …
Lester Haines, 2 Sep 2013
Jack's hands remove powder from a round the wing

Vulture 2 spaceplane rises from the powdered nylon

There's mounting excitement here at the Special Project Bureau's mountaintop headquarters as we prepare to receive the parts of our Vulture 2 spaceplane. Our chums down at 3D printers 3T RPD Ltd have just dusted off the outer wings and wingtip rudder assemblies, seen here in these rough CAD views. The top couple of images show …
Lester Haines, 30 Aug 2013

Bionic Brit Babbage Bear boards brilliant balloon, bests ballsy Baumgartner

Vid and pics We're delighted to report that Raspberry Pi mascot Babbage Bear wrested the world skydiving record crown from Felix Baumgartner on Monday - by leaping into the void from a breathtaking 39,000m. Stepping from his foam launch platform, Babbage took the plunge into the history books, pipping the Austrian's 38,969m jump, as this …
Lester Haines, 27 Aug 2013
Babbage and the Raspberry Pi rig before insertion into Babbage. Pic: Dave Akerman

Rasp Pi skydive: Ballsy Baumgartner best beware Brit bionic Babbage Bear

Pics Austrian high-altitude geezer Felix Baumgartner had better watch his back, because there's a furry Brit contender for the world skydiving record preparing to leap into the void from a breathtaking 39,000m. Tomorrow (Saturday), weather permitting, Raspberry Pi Mascot Babbage Bear will ascend to the stratosphere over the green …
Lester Haines, 23 Aug 2013

Our Vulture 2 spaceplane sprouts sleek pointy beak

The nylon dust has almost settled on the epic design and build saga of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 spaceplane as 3D printer 3T RPD Ltd fires up the machine to craft the last pieces of our revolutionary aircraft. Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen, the crack design team of Southampton Uni postgrads - …
Lester Haines, 23 Aug 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

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

Pics 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 flying rooster seen in the stratosphere

Portuguese chicken invades Spanish airspace

A plucky Portuguese cockerel has added extra weight to the theory that model aircraft and High Altitude Ballooning payloads are magnetically drawn to trees by soaring to a heady 33,252m before crash landing in a bewildered Spanish villager's fig tree. The flying rooster seen in the stratosphere The Galo de Barcelos (Rooster …
Lester Haines, 19 Aug 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