back to article LOHAN: She's low orbit and helium assisted

It's official: The El Reg Special Projects Bureau's audacious rocket-powered spaceplane project will henceforth be known as the "Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator", following our reader poll to nail the LOHAN backronym matter once and for all. It just remains to be said that we're not accepting any whining about the word " …


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  1. David Given
    Thumb Up

    No whining...

    ...but I'm sure any offers of wining will be gratefully appreciated.

    Sounds awesome. Keep us posted!

  2. Robert Moore
    Paris Hilton

    Just a thought

    But with a backronym like LOHAN wouldn't the most logical rockets be alcohol fueled?

    1. Heironymous Coward

      With all due respect* to Ms. Logan,

      I agree re the alcohol fueled rocket. I also think the return to earth should be of the 'crash and burn' variety, with as much publicity as possible. Could you arrange for an 'accidental' crash landing on the London Eye or Big Ben or something??

      * all due respect being taken literally here...

    2. Mike Richards

      It should definitely be inspired by the lovely Ms. Lohan

      And come without any undercarriage.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Where will it land ?

    It looks like a Kangaroo motif on the wing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where will it land ?


      I must admit that was my first thought when I saw the top motif. However, rotate the image 90 degrees clockwise and you'll see it's the Vulture logo.

  4. Alan 6


    I've no comment on the backronym, but I love the Playmobil activity behind the page banner

  5. elawyn


    Strictly speaking, anything that goes 'ballistic' *is* in orbit, just not a complete orbit. If you stand in your garden and throw a rock, it goes 'ballistic' and starts to fall under gravity. The faster you throw it, the further it goes. Throw it at 7 miles per second and it's in an 'escape' orbit. Any slower and it's in a 'decay' orbit.

    Semantics, gotta love them!

    1. Geoff May


      If one merely goes through the roof, is that sub-orbital?

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Orbit's fine

    A landing (crash, splash, controlled, etc.) is merely an orbit that intersects the surface. No biggie!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    If it's going to be launched from Spain again...

    Shouldn't that be Special Projects Burro?

    Coat. I'll get mine.

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

      Re: If it's going to be launched from Spain again...

      Very good.

    2. Mike Flugennock

      Spain? "Special Projects Burro"?

      Actually, that'd be Mexico you're thinking of.

    3. bugalugs

      re: Special Projects Burro

      Don't land in France !

  8. Alister

    nice graphic

    Very 1930's sci-fi...

    Just need a tag-line to go with it...

    "Once it was human, but now... LOHAN, the Thing from Outer Space!!"

  9. cynic 2

    A suggestion

    If you ask nicely, maybe Ms. Lohan will agree to model for a custom Playmobil figurine. That way, we'll have Lohan on Lohan to play with as an acronym...

  10. K. Adams

    First PARIS, now LOHAN...

    ... and next, NICOLE:

    -- -- New Inertia-Controlled Operations Launcher for Experimentation


  11. Graham Bartlett


    To me, it looks like a gull sitting down, facing left. Perhaps a tern. Or maybe a booby...

  12. Camilla Smythe

    So Basically

    Being an armchair critic..

    You are going to dangle something similar on a balloon and drop it.... again.


    Paris, being a paper plane and light, may have achieved some altitude.... but then you went and shunted in some great big heavy bit of crufty box containing springs and shit in order to drop it and, if you were to be honest and I would accept I could be incorrect, the only reason it got dropped was the balloon blew up triggering your spring.....

    Given the balloon will blow up, and apparently with enough resulting disturbance to whack off your hefty altitude destroying Condom protected meat-hook smeared with Vaseline might I suggest you lose the weight of that pox and use the balloon blowing up to trigger a less crap method of indicating the release point?


    Rather than being a 'twat' and just criticising I will help you out with a crap idea. Don't forget the balloon exploding one as being your release trigger though.

    Use Hydrogen in your balloon... Yess Yess Yess Blah Blah Blah but fit it with some clever thing, you still get to do the clever stuff, like a tube thing up into it's middle that, as it goes higher vents some of the atmospheric oxygen onto a fuel cell type thing 'burning' some of the hydrogen, and dribbling the resulting water out of its 'penis' end and overboard thus heating the remaining hydrogen for more lift, and height whilst avoiding the balloon popping scenario until it gets really really really really high.

    Plus you can charge up the batteries, meh, and supply power to the..... other stuff. Kool!

    You may also require some sort of gravitationally aligned gyroscopic danglio-ometer to point your plane in the right direction before you set off the 12-bores.... erm engines when you 'drop it'.

    ;-);-);-);-) I've got an extra secret plan involving some fishing line, hooks and sellotape that will pop and release at maximum altitude plus some of the same that will ensure the other stuff. Some of that is to do with spinning things and a

    It is left as an exercise for the student to demonstrate I am right.

    So, in summary. You can either drop another bit of poorly constructed shit from a helium balloon launched from Spain[?] achieving exactly nothing beyond Paris and pose for grins in the wood or you can steal my ideas and extend the boundaries of Science.

    The choice is yours.

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

      Re: So Basically

      I was going to let your outrageous insults go until I realised your grand plan doesn't involve gaffer tape. Accordingly, it's been filed under bin.

      1. Camilla Smythe


        Gaffer Tape?

        Have you any idea how weight to ascent height ratio is destroyed by the inclusion of such a materiel or are you just part of the road crew?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    aerospike rocket

    Given efficiency is a factor, the rocket exhaust should definitely be of aerospike/plug nozzle type., which automatically adjusts to be more eficient as the pressure changes.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: aerospike rocket

      I have a sneaking suspicion we're talking solid fuel boosters for this thing. More to the point, the sort of solid fuel booster where the only important decision as regards nozzle design is; "how big a hole should we drill in the bottom of the tube?".

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As a fitting tribute to Yuri Gagarin, can the playmobilonaut be ejected violently at 23000 ft to return to earth separately from the capsule?

    Go on, stick it on the To-Do list, you know you want to...

  15. M Gale

    A realistic target?

    Something to aim for: Go so fast and high that the civilian GPS craps out. You'd then need your own altimeter and airspeed indicator, and a three-axis magnetic compass wouldn't go amiss. I've already skimmed over the details of those in other posts.

    Think you could get Vulture 2 going over 1050mph? Think you can afford the titanium-geared servos required to move control surfaces/rocket nozzles at that speed? Think you could track the thing with a telescope/radio dish for real-time telemetry?

    Want to find out?

  16. Andus McCoatover

    Lovely Jubbly!

    Can't wait. After all, PARIS was a total success, can't see why this one won't be.

    Nice one, Lester.

  17. Yag

    Please, god PLEASE!

    Makes the LOHAN celebration cocktail *drinkable*

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's free extra lift.

    Is it hard to buy or something?

  19. Nick Pettefar


    You could use three balloons, connected to a central launch thingy, kind of like a hoop, with the rocket held in the middle. This way the balloon doesn't get in the way of the rocket. Maybe have a pressure valve on the balloons to prevent them from bursting? A simple gyro can keep the rocket pointed upwards...

    1. bugalugs

      How about simply mounting a lightweight LOHAN on_top_of a balloon,

      dangle a small ballast weight ( balloon telemetrics? ) to maintain attitude, vent lifting gas as noted before then fire the rocket up at peak altitude ?

  20. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    FAB Vulture Central !

    LOHAN is GO!

  21. Tomato42
    Thumb Up

    return to terra firma

    I propose using lithobraking, it's 100% effective

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The Special Projects Burro was intended as a mere play on words (or punne) , not a reference to the paragliding donkey.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Paragliding donkey

      That would be the SBS, Special Burro Service

  23. rickyjames

    "Orbit" Is Perfectly Appropriate

    Don't take any guff about using "orbit" in your acronym. After rocket burnout, the vehicle will officially be in an orbit that just happens to intersect the surface of the Earth. Some people will sniff that is the same as "suborbital", but it's not your fault that dirt gets in the way of your path around the center of the earth. That's just part of (literally) "down and dirty" engineering.

    Good luck! Try not to accidentally trigger a Russian nuclear counterstrike!

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