back to article Watch live! Crack LOHAN team to send SPEARS to stratosphere

Our report yesterday that the Special Projects Bureau had ordered its intrepid playmonaut back to base ahead of a vital Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission, led some of you to suspect that we were poised to wave off the Special Project Electronic Altitude Release System (SPEARS) control board on a high-altitude …


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  1. DrogoNevets
    Thumb Up

    can we come watch?

    if we happen to live in Berkshire ourselves, can we come and watch/help?

    1. VinceH
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      Re: can we come watch?

      That idea gets my vote. Even though I don't live there.

  2. TRT Silver badge

    If the module returns to earth...

    in the same county as it is launched, then won't the search for it be a bit of a Berkshire hunt?

  3. Peter Simpson 1
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    Best of luck!

    Let's hope LOHAN doesn't get "busted", like its namesake:

    Clear skies and smooth landings!

  4. iGoto

    You're near my house!!!!

    It's a small world indeed! I shall look out for the little blighter tomorrow morning!

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  6. imanidiot Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Crackin news!

    The last few months felt like there has been little progress due to lack of news. This will probably more than make up for it. Splendid!

    Will the igniter be fired in free air or contained is some sort of rocket nozzle stand in?

  7. Lloyd

    If I Googled Lohan and Crack

    How far down the rankings do you think this article would come?

    1. ItsNotMe
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      Re: If I Googled Lohan and Crack

      Ahhh...just did it. 10 out of 10.

  8. James Micallef Silver badge

    Top stuff

    So, almost a full dress-rehearsal minus the actual rocket, then?

    Great work. Good luck with weather and launch, and a beer for the intrepid playmonaut + design & build team

  9. ItsNotMe
    Thumb Up

    And in a never ending effort to keep her name in the news...

    You go girl!!

  10. Charles E

    Truss upside down

    I keep telling you guys, you should not attach the lines to the truss that way. It lets the truss roll around the axis of the top bar. Instead, you should turn it upside down and attach four lines, one to each corner. You will basically be making a pyramid of lines, four attachment lines leading to a central point. This will keep the truss from rocking back and forth, the four-point bridle will keep it stable. If you use the current method, it's going to be a problem during launch. There's no way to keep the direction of thrust perfectly aligned with the truss, so that will make the truss roll a bit. The plane could easily get snagged if the truss gets rotated or inverted.

    1. Alan Esworthy

      Re: Truss upside down

      Yes, that looks to be a stability risk. If the rest of the design is somehow wedded to the pictured orientation, perhaps a pair of very light anti-rocking lines could be added from the sides of the lower face to the hang point.

  11. Dave 124

    Warning on Iridium...

    When using 9602 iridium transmitters in a contained space with a uBlox GPA a few years ago we found that the 2watt Iridium transmission degraded the uBlox front end eventually rendering it useless. Solutions included shutting down the Ublox during Iridium transmission to protect its fron end. If you haven't tested this yet you may consider doing so before you damage your custom circuits... good luck and have a safe & successful flight!

    1. PC Paul
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Warning on Iridium...

      ...or maybe add a tinfoil 'hat' in suitable places?

      I'm also curious whether there are similar plans to test fly the 3-D printed airframe as well, to get it trimmed out and make sure it does actually hold together structurally and fly, both rocket powered and gliding.

      I saw that as the major failing of the PARIS experiment. This one is so much better organised it would be a shame not to put that bit right...

    2. Anthony Stirk
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      Re: Warning on Iridium...

      We've not had any issues with the Iridium in testing but for safely the GPS antennas is as far from the Iridium one as possible.




  12. GumboKing

    Oh the humanity!

    So, since you are using Hydrogen as a lift gas, I would be remiss if I did not suggest putting an igniter inside the balloon.

    It wouldn't really help in the testing at as it would probably destroy everything, but would be spectacular and more in keeping with personality of the project's namesake.

    Flame ON!

    1. M Gale

      Re: Oh the humanity!

      You know, if the parachute and balloon could be tied together with a length of fuse, might that work as a test of the ignition system at the same time?

      That and the possibility of the balloon conflagrating after dropping the rig.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Oh the humanity!

      Hydrogen (or anything) doesn't burn all that well in an oxygen starved environment like high up in the atmosphere. Inside the balloon there won't be any oxygen to speak off and any sort of rapid oxidation is out of the question.

  13. Andus McCoatover

    beneath a mighty latex orb.

    I'm surprised Durex wasn't a sponsor. Oh, wait - it's supposed to burst at climax. Yeah, got the drift...

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Why have you left the nuts and washers on the switches?

    If they're not actually fixing them to anything they are not only extra unnecessary weight, but also carry the risk of winding themselves off (from vibration) and falling into the gubbins, causing all sorts of problems.

  15. Phil E Succour

    Hydrogen??? Lasers???

    I think I see a plan coming together: launch a hydrogen filled balloon to great heights and then try and shoot it down with the high powered lasers. That should be quite a light show, can't wait for the video...

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