back to article Vulture 1 GPS test: It did work, honest

Yesterday's test of the Vulture 1 GPS/radio board didn't quite run according to plan, due to a dodgy broadband connection which scuppered the live map here on El Reg. To recap, we arranged an airborne jaunt for the GPS unit (details here) which will allow us to track and recover our amazing space paper plane. The unit …


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  1. Josco

    OK OK but....

    When do we get to see the paper plane (sic) or at least some outline sketches?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      RE: When do we get to see the paper plane (sic) or a

      Probably not for some time so as to keep British hi-tech from falling into the hands of the Americans or Russians.

  2. Anonymous John

    Playmobil reconstruction

    Or it didn't happen.

    1. Mike Richards

      Good point

      I assume PARIS will be carrying a Playmobil payload?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Is it just coincidental that the "track" is centred around Teignmouth ... clearly there is someone trapped inside the project wanting us to know that its all fake and using a "Capricorn 1" style coded cry-for-help by referencing the faked round the world race locations of Donald Crowhurst.

  4. SuperTim

    have we determined....

    if this will work at very high altitude and speed yet? As commercial GPS doesnt work when going fast at very high altitude. Summat to do with stopping people using them for ballistic missiles.

    I can't remember where we are up to with that.

    Still, all looks very good. I love to witness history in the making...

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Commercial GPS

      Tops out at 60,000 feet and speeds of just over 1150mph (1000 knots).

      Even if it does get released about the 60,000 feet number, it'll start working again when it falls below that. And if a paper plane can fly at 1150mph, then we're re-writing everything we know about aerodynamics :-)

    2. BigRedBee

      High Altitude

      Yes, the BigRedBee transmitter uses a Trimble Lassen IQ chipset which has been previously flight tested to altitudes above 100,000 feet. There are more pictures and data of flights like this here:

  5. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Paris Hilton

    "a bigger, PARIS-sized antenna"

    So you had to errect an bigger 'mono-pole' then.....

  6. Dave 32

    GPS versus altitude

    There are quite a few balloon launching groups in the US, some of which have encountered the 60K feet altitude limit on some, but not all, GPSes. Note that there are some GPS receivers which will still report valid position data above 60K feet (given that the air speed is low).


  7. Anonymous Coward

    So what's new here?

    This isn't new technology - so I'm surprised you had problems getting it working!

    Radio amateurs have been using a system called APRS since the late 1980s. It was originally written to be able to triangulate things like forest fires from what I remember.

    Basic introduction to APRS

    Current APRS stations that are driving / walking / ... :

    From there seems to be someone driving around the Reading area....

    1. SteveD


      It's not new tech I agree. We did get a bit of signal drop out, but that was not unexpected due to the low power we were running. The big problem was that the broadband dongle feeding the web failed to do the job. The flight data arrived at the laptop fine.

      Lester did a great job flying the plane, although I did need a couple of pints afterwards.

      And thanks to Mark Slyfield for helping out.

  8. David Casler
    Thumb Down

    Something fishy about the GPS track

    Your figure-8 GPS track looks interesting, except there's a long straight line. I take GPS tracks all the time for my motorcycle jaunts high into the U.S. Rocky Mountains. A long straight line is the GPS simply drawing a straight line back to its most recent data point. In other words, it looks like your GPS lost tracking for quite awhile there. Check that KML file to see if a lot didn't get left out.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    EOSS technology applicable to PARIS?


    Have you looked at for some ideas on GPS-based APRS beacons, homebrew

    altitude chambers and a barometrically-armed release device? Check:

    for some possibly useful tips for everything but gliders, upon which our FAA has imposed

    a kabosh with its new UAS rules.

    It's a pity that your OFCOM (?) prohibits amateur radioaboard your flights. I'd think that El Reg

    could loudly rattle some cages to let the UK do what nearly every other nation on the planet

    can do legally.

    73 de Mike W5VSI


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