back to article PARIS unveils impressive box

It's all go down at the Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) headquarters ahead of our planned 23 October launch. Earlier this week we wrapped the construction of the main payload box, which contains the vital Vulture 1 aircraft release mechanism, cameras, GPS tracker and radio beacon. There's more on the successful …


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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Hang on a minute - what did I miss?

    Aren't the cameras supposed to be in the *plane*, not the balloon? How are you getting the pictures back?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Hang on a minute - what did I miss?

      The Vulture 1 also has a miniature camera and is tracked and recovered via a GPS/APRS unit. The main payload parachutes down for separate recovery via the GPS tracker. Its radio beacon is a back-up.

      If all three cameras work we'll have stills and video from the main payload, and stills from Vulture 1. That's a big if given the expected conditions at altitude, of course...

  2. JimC

    Are you really sure about the

    Are you really sure about the insulation? Seems to me your ascent time is likely to be so long as to defeat any insulation unless you've got a heat source inside the box... And if that's the case then adding a bunch of glass insulation, which is a very notorious clogger up of mechanical systems, might be a tad counter productive.

    1. daka

      Minor heat sources

      The cameras and other electronics should provide a little heat, I think this was mentioned in one of the past articles.

    2. Tim #3
      Paris Hilton


      If one is needed, you could do a lot worse than one of those charcoal burning pocketwarmers that anglers (used to?) use, they're surprisingly toasty, long lasting & suitably anaerobic.

      BTW did you fix the release mech since the last qinetic visit, so you can be sure it ain't going it let go at 50k?

      Paris, even tho i'm sure her box looked a bit different last time I saw it.

  3. Bob Greenwood

    ..And the pilot will be?

    We expect a Lego character to appear at some point

    1. Annihilator


      Lego?? In keeping with the finest El Reg tradition, it should be Playmobil, or some people will believe it never happened...

    2. Barticus


      I think you rather mean Playmobil, sir!

    3. LuMan
      Thumb Up

      re: Piloy

      Nah, it'll be Playmobil, natch!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Playmobil caricature of Verity Stob, surely?

      that or perhaps some other famous female who frequents the pages of El Reg...

    5. Andrew_F


      Playmobil surely?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        He's a regular tease that Lester

        ' with a view down to where our pilot will ride out the ascent:'

        PILOT - there's going to be a pilot!

        BTW. Is it just me who suddenly realised PARIS was a lot larger than she appeared sprawled out and dismembered in Lester's shed?

  4. bharq

    shake it, baby!

    before you send it up into the sky, make sure you shake it and check everything stays in place. And make sure the aluminum foil doesn't come loose and block your camera...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oooh-errr matron

    A picture series of the stuff that "lifts and seperates" Paris. I guess you are hoping to get more hits on google!

    1. El Richard Thomas


      Only if they spell separate correctly.

  6. LeBeourfCurtaine
    Paris Hilton

    Imagine my disappointment...

    ...when I click on a link entitled 'PARIS unveils impressive box', only to find Paris Hilton is nowhere to be seen!

    Still, an article on a wooden box seems a fitting epitaph for Paris' film career so far. In more ways than one.

    Paris, for the shame of it all.

  7. Kurgan


    Since I suppose that weight is not really an issue in this box, I'd also suggest to add some sort of heater system. A battery and a resistor, or maybe some resistors, placed near the main components. At low temperature not only the batteries tend to malfunction, but electronics too. The exposed video camera can fail even if its batteries are kept warm. You should at least test it in the coldest environment you can find (industrial freezer cells?).

    1. cavac


      I'm more worried about the lenses than the electronics, especially that big UV Filter. When it gets cold, the air inside the box will cool and the lenses might freeze over.

  8. Steve 13

    space blanket

    Maybe I've misunderstood the purpose of these things, but isn't it to reflect the heat that your body radiates back into the space you've enclosed (ie normally wrapped around you).

    I wouldn't think that a room temperature (and falling) bunch of electronics will be radiating very much, so the insulative properties of a space blanket will be very poor...

  9. 0laf

    What about a handwarmer?

    One of those cheepo gel handwarmers.

    they stay warm for about 45min mixed with the spaceblanket and insulation that might keep things warm long enough.

    1. Cameron Colley

      Handwarmers get my vote.

      As others I am a little sceptical about just using insulation to keep this warm -- and handwarmers could be a good source of heat to protect the electronics.

      1. Holtsmark Silver badge
        Thumb Down


        Not enough oxygen available at critical altitude.

        Chemical or electical solutions may be better. If you go electrical: LiPo batteries may have problems due to lack of external atmospheric pressure to keep the (vacuum-) pack together and working. Go LiIon with a cylindrical metal shell if you can. Make sure that the battery heats itself as well.

        Not impressed with weight of box. Better get someone to sponsor you with low density Rohacell foam. Extremely good insulator as well. Glue it with epoxy or polyurethane and skip the duct tape. .


        1. Cameron Colley


          We're not talking those charcoal handwarmers, but the type which use an exothermic gel -- I've not seen any "in the flesh" as it were -- but they don't appear to have any air in them to cause expansion problems at altitude.

          1. M Gale

            Exothermic Gel

            Also known as sodium acetate or, to potato snack companies, "salt and vinegar flavour".

            Shouldn't be too hard to get hold of, or just buy the hand warmers pre-made. I don't know if they'd last 45 minutes though.

    2. TimeMaster T

      But ...

      What happens to a hand warmer at 100,000ft?


  10. Anonymous John

    Come on, admit it!

    You wrote the headline months ago and designed the plane round it, didn't you?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the manner of American Air Force bombers?

    Will PARIS' elegant fuselage carry an equally elegant depiction of its namesake?

    Are any Regitards willing (and indeed able) to design such a delightful bit of cheesecake?

    1. Gangsta
      Paris Hilton

      This'll Do



    2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


      But it's pointless to compete - nothing can better this one:

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Sorry

        Er, that link there may be a bit NSFW depending on your W.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Now even more sorry

          With the hindsight I should have warned of NSFW but I thought historic aircraft was exempt... After all it is displayed in front of thousands of visitors (including children) at every airshow at Duxford.

  12. Dave Oakes Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Gaffer taps at sub zero?

    You have tested your gaffer tape at low temperatures?

    Depending upon who made the tape, both the tape and the adhesive can get very brittle at extremes of temerature.

    1. ian 22

      Gaffer tape?

      At a guess, I'd say gaffer tape has little or no insulating power, so why not use aluminium tape? The adhesive is generally better and more to the point, it looks much more "hi-tech".

  13. Bill B

    Silent treatment

    Is your son even speaking to you after you have publicly labelled him as your "glamorous assistant"?

  14. Tom Russell

    release mechanism

    By including the release mechanism within the payload box - that works on pressure differential - within a sealed box, aren't you in danger of altering the pressure around the release mechanism vs the actual exterior pressure, and hence it won't work as you intend?

    Perhaps a further release check with everything boxed up...

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: release mechanism

      The release mechanism isn't fully sealed in - there's a gap around where the plunger rod passes through the styrofoam... the pressure inside the mechanism enclosure is the same as outside.

  15. Don Quioxte

    Trust the BOFH publishers?

    Why do I think that anything associated with the publishers of the BOFH articles should first have a bomb sniffing dog look at it followed by a pass with a Geiger counter and a tox screen?

    1. Havin_it

      The dog's already been over it

      You can see him sleeping it off in pg2, pic1, top left. Must have been a tough job.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everyone is doing it...

    Just seen this video of an amateur balloon launch. How stable is the PARIS in the wind?

    In that video, they just rely on the balloon going pop at 100,000ft. Camera returned on parachute. Interestingly their batteries kept working until only a couple of mins before landing.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    A better solution to handwarmers?

    What might be better are air-activated heatpacks with a perforated outer core. They look like big teabags and are frequently used in small animal and fish shipping. They can be taped to things which might be useful to prevent electronics freezing up. Just a thought.

  18. Rattus Rattus

    Glamorous Assistant

    I trust you're getting him a skimpy sequinned dress for launch day?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Glamorous Assistant

      He says he'll do it, but only if Paris Hilton attends wearing a similar outfit.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Have you thought about putting a few of those little crystal sachet things in to absorbe any moisture that could cause havoc with the electronics?

  20. kryptonaut


    Also you might want to put some desiccant (and/or a heating element of some sort) between the UV filter and the camera, it'd be a shame if all you got was pictures of ice crystals forming on the inside of the window.

  21. Martin Budden


    I hope you remembered to take the left-over draft excluder strip out of the plunger expansion chamber.

  22. Scorchio!!


    No such word as 'orientated' ("wings can be orientated along "). Oriented, yes.

    1. DaveLeeTravis

      What about orientedated?

      Orientated certainly is a word:

  23. A K Stiles

    Re: Hmm

    Actually there is a word orientate - and it is theoretically more common in the UK whilst the version orient is more common in the US, and as Lester is in the UK...

    The short version is slightly older in usage than the long version, as is often the case with Americanisms.

    I already knew this - many of my colleagues wouldn't hesitate to agree to my 'Grammar-Nazi' credentials - but just to be sure, I also followed the principle of JFGI and found a source of info that wasn't the online encyclopaedia El Reg loves to hate!

  24. Graham Bartlett

    First sentence could be a tongue-twister

    So Lester - is it all go, down at the PARIS headquarters?

    Or is it all go down, at the PARIS headquarters? Which in turn, gives new possibilities to "headquarters"...

    If the latter, we need Playmobil! Actually we might not believe the former without Playmobil either, but never mind.

  25. Charles E

    Cold out != Warm in

    I'm not convinced the extreme insulation to "keep the cold out" (as you put it) is likely to work. You also need to warm the interior. Other similar amateur balloon lift projects have used little chemical heat pads inside their styrofoam electronics containers, to keep the batteries warm. You can probably buy something useful at any drugstore, they're little chem packs, you break the interior vial so the catalyst mixes into the pack, and it stays warm for a few hours.

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