back to article LOHAN straps on satellite comms capability

We're sure readers will offer the traditional El Reg welcome today to Rock Seven, which has climbed aboard the British space programme by providing an Iridium satellite comms capability for our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic The company's newly …


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  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Cheers to them!

    Anyone who contributes to LOHAN deserves a pint!

  2. Real Ale is Best


    Gosh, Iridium is still running?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Iridium?

      Yes. Why shouldn't it be?

  3. Alister

    "Being able to help with the British space programme is brilliant"

    Um, isn't this overstating the case just a little, especially since the base of operations is currently Spain??

    1. Miek

      Why let facts get in the way of a good story

    2. Annihilator

      "Um, isn't this overstating the case just a little, especially since the base of operations is currently Spain??"

      Not really, the Russian space agencies launch from Kazahkstan. We've just outsourced the LOHAN operations.

  4. Miek
    Thumb Up

    A massive thumbs (pint included) up for Rock Seven

    1. ElNumbre

      And their marketing tactic has worked.

      I looked at their website, checked their prices, and am now wondering how to get the purchase approved by the Home Office ('er indoors) to buy one. Very reasonable.

  5. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    I was honestly expecting the cost of that device to be exorbitant but the website suggest not. Hell, you can barely get GSM/SMS connectivity in an embedded device for the prices they charge.

    £159 for the device. £8/month subscription (no annual contract!). 12p per credit (down to 4p in bulk). That's seriously competitive with SMS devices. Hell, I might even buy one to add onto my in-car Raspberry Pi project. How does the messaging work, though? I assume you need two devices to send messages to each other, but even so - that's still quite good.

    Might have to rock up to Brentwood next time I'm there and see the kit for myself if that's possible.

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      To answer my own question: Apparently, for the RockBlock, the messaging goes via some sort of email gateway at RockBlock. Send/recieve messages via email with just a single device, by the look of it.

    2. Vic

      > That's seriously competitive with SMS devices

      It's a little dearer; each credit gives you up to 50 characters.

      Nevertheless, this is a pretty cheap way to get sat-based messaging. I'm trying to think up a project to justify buying one :-)


  6. David Given
    Thumb Up

    The obvious application...

    ...of this is to send back live pictures. I mean, forget trivial stuff like GPS or system status telemetry --- 340 bytes is big enough for a 52x52 monochrome bitmap, or if you really want to push the boat out, 36x36 at 2bpp or 18x18 at 4bpp. And that's without compression, too.

  7. Graham Marsden

    "two-way chat"

    So it's a double-ended strap-on then...?

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: "two-way chat"

      "So it's a double-ended strap-on then...?"

      I'm trying to work out how that's possible

      1. Annihilator

        Re: "two-way chat"

        "Did you say strap in or strap on?"

      2. Graham Marsden

        @Elmer Phud - Re: "two-way chat"

        "I'm trying to work out how that's possible"

        With careful design ;-)

  8. Annihilator
    Paris Hilton


    First thing that springs to mind is a manual launch switch for the rocketry should the pressure switch launch trigger fail, or worse, the telemetry suggests that the balloon has burst prematurely?

    1. Peter Mount

      Re: Use?

      Similar to if the balloon bursts prematurely, when she lands (or just before as might not have clear view of the sky) sends the gps coordinates so she can be found easily.

      Although the existing tracking is there, nothing like a backup

  9. squigbobble

    Take a leaf out of NASA's book

    ...and transmit a fecking annoying tune when it reaches launch altitude.

  10. swisstoni

    How about.....?

    Why don't you use it do download a song from some publicity hungry US pop star?

    Oh no wait, that would be an absolutely ridiculous thing to do and massive waste of time and resources. Who'd do something as stupid as that???

  11. Eugene Crosser

    Power requirements

    Transmit Current (average) 190mA

    Transmit Current (peak) 1.5A

    Might be too expensive to send a message every ten seconds...

    On the other hand, only 30g module (the board with the power supply and antenna must be heavier by still) is impressive for a two-way space communication gadget!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Way to opt out of warranty support

    "Warranty void if broken" indeed. If it's not broken, why would one make a warranty claim?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Way to opt out of warranty support

      Is that what they call a "lifetime guarantee"? The warranty expires when it dies...

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Pint Personally Proffered

    This has a huge number of control and monitoring possibilities.

  14. multipharious


    I will point this out to some of my transcontinental motorcycle buddies.

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