back to article LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!

The traditional portentous drumroll and fanfare of trumpets has added timpani and a throbbing bass synth crescendo today as we announce that the planned launch of our our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission has been relocated to New Mexico's Spaceport America. This shock news comes at the end of an epic …

  1. A K Stiles

    Ah the joys of an open market...

    with just enough of 'la cinta roja' to scupper the best laid plans of mice, men and playmonauts!

    At least the land of the free look likely to let you blow some stuff up in their bit of the upper atmosphere, and you can try some of the lovely craft beers whilst you're there, for research purposes of course!

    Bring on the Merch and let's get this thing done. One credit card standing by.

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

      Re: Ah the joys of an open market...

      Good man.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Blimey, I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition...

      Our five chief weapons are fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms—oh damn. And adherence to every nitwit protocol from Brussels, Madrid and Strasbourg.

      I'll come in again...

    3. ibchristian

      Re: Ah the joys of an open market...

      ... seems an opportunity lost for Spain to share in the sheer joy (not to mention scientific research) of the LOHAN effort...??? Oh well, New Mexico tends to be lovely this time of year, or at least in a few months from now... and then there is the craft beer aspect...

      Yep, my credit card is ready... and yes I am a U.S. citizen FYSA!

  2. deshepherd

    Sound similar to the way that French bureaucracy scuppered James May's plans to fly a "toy" glider across the English channel.

  3. JimmyPage

    **** the European badge

    Why should you celebrate Europe if they can't ****ing well support you ?

    I'll have a *US* patch, please. £20 ?

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

      Re: **** the European badge

      A bit more than that - we're tin-rattling remember...

    2. james 68

      Re: **** the European badge

      Yeah because Spain is the entirety of Europe. The 'Merkin education system at its best, who needs geography when you can have creationism?

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

        Re: Re: **** the European badge

        Alright chaps, let's pipe it down. LOHAN is an international operation, no matter where we launch, so let's have some spirit of solidarity, eh?

      2. John Gamble

        Re: **** the European badge

        Downvoted for failing to check if the poster was an American. And possibly missing a point.

      3. Number6

        Re: **** the European badge

        I bet there are people who'd pay to have the European map with Spain deleted from it. Although Portugal would have to get used to being an island.

        1. Scroticus Canis

          Re: **** the European badge @Number6

          Well being an island didn't do us (UK) any harm, then we had to dig the bloody chunnel and the rest is history (or the rewriting of it). Pah!

          At lest in the US they will be allowed a decent powered vacuum cleaner to collect the pieces if Lohan has the miss fortune to do a Beagle. Soon we won't be able to buy anything with more suck than an old smoker (mea culpa) after 10 cough 5 flights of stairs by Brussels diktat. Pah again!

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: **** the European badge

            Isn't the point of Europe that you can't have little local laws (like only French cars being allowed in France) anymore ?

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: **** the European badge

              No, you can have as many pointless obstructive little local laws as you like, that's called subsidiarity. It's only the big, important, laws that are made by Brusselbourg, because obviously the provincials can't be trusted with them. Divide and Conquer, it's a very old principle.

  4. Robert Heffernan

    Daft Government

    Governments worldwide are daft with regulation. Even in Australia if I wanted to make rcandy propellant (Potassium nitrate + Sugar) I too would need a commercial licence to manufacture explosives, which is odd given that mix just burns vigorously and doesn't actually explode.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Daft Government

      Try burning it inside a sealed container.

      1. Robert Heffernan

        Re: Daft Government

        I have had a test motor over pressurize and blow the nozzle out the end. Very loud. While I do agree in the wrong hands you could do some damage, it doesn't warrant the restrictions placed on it.

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    A dead country, dreaming of galactic empires to come.

    "SPACEPORT AMURRICA", shurely?

  6. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Sekret "berkshire-nor" facility

    I presume it was the EU bit that scuppered using your Berkshirenor proving ground as a final launch facility then?

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

      Re: Sekret "berkshire-nor" facility

      We could never do the launch in Blighty. The site was ambitiously renamed "Baconur", but the only thing sizzling was the sliced pork.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: Sekret "berkshire-nor" facility

        I'm curious as to why no launch in blighty?

        I've seen rocket launches happen on our shores (top gear for one memorable launch), and I know we can launch high altitude balloons..

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Sekret "berkshire-nor" facility

          Probably because in comparison to the magic attractive forces of trees, the sea has a pull hundreds of times more. Such is its power that it can alter the winds high aloft so as to suck its victims in.

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

            Re: Re: Sekret "berkshire-nor" facility

            Yes, the English Channel demonstrates incredible payload-pulling power.

        2. Jaybus

          Re: Sekret "berkshire-nor" facility

          Where exactly would be similar to Spaceport America's location in the high desert of New Mexico at over 1200 m altitude and no trees for hundreds of km?

  7. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    How about Rockall?

    Unlikely to worry any of the locals if you launch from there.

    1. jaywin

      Re: How about Rockall?

      Fairly good chance of the replacement playmonaut repeating his predecessors fate though...

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

      Re: How about Rockall?

      The recovery could prove tricky, though...

    3. Mister_C

      Re: How about Rockall?

      Still too many trees

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

        Re: Re: How about Rockall?


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A very rude man from the Ministry of Obstruction

    I know him. Our planning application for a house in a poxy village in the middle of nowhere is still on hold after a year. Another resident knows him even better, he's been asked to provide an environmental impact study for his desire to build a garage onto his house. To get an idea of how ridiculous this is my brother-in-law keeps his cows inside the village boundary and the milking shed is built onto his house, everyday he marches the cows from the cowshed to be milked. Also chickens, geese, turkeys and a variety of other un-identifiable presumably cross bred fowl wander the streets.

    Oh, and it's no good naming and shaming these bastards nor the townhall they work in because they take great pride in what they do. I suspect they have awards for the one who creates most frustration.

    Nothing to do with LOHAN but I've been wanting to get that off my chest for a long time.

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

      Re: A very rude man from the Ministry of Obstruction

      That is indeed the same bloke.

      1. Chris Miller

        Re: A very rude man from the Ministry of Obstruction

        How long have you lived in Spain, Lester? Did you remember to accompany your bureaucratic request with a bottle of Carlos Primero? Well, did you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A very rude man from the Ministry of Obstruction

          That doesn't work any more. These days you need to be married to royalty or a celebrity then you can do just as you please with no need to bother the man in the ministry.

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

          Re: Re: A very rude man from the Ministry of Obstruction

          I've been in Spain for nine years. Sadly I still cling to the British notion that government official should do their jobs without "incentives".

          By that I do indeed mean the odd bottle of Carlos Primero, rather than a gun to the head, which is an attractive notion sometimes.

          1. Chris Miller

            Re: A very rude man from the Ministry of Obstruction

            An admirable desire to stick to your Anglo-Saxon guns, Lester, but do you ever succeed in getting anything done through the local bureaucrats (particularly out in the wilds of Gredos)? To be fair to our Spanish friends, the pay for a lot of their government jobs isn't great and kind of assumes that earnings will be topped up with 'tips' - rather like waiters in the UK.

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

              Re: Re: A very rude man from the Ministry of Obstruction

              The problem is they have too many "job for life" funcionarios. Lay the bone idle half of them off, pay the remainder a living wage and it's sorted.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: A very rude man from the Ministry of Obstruction

                >The problem is they have too many "job for life" funcionarios.

                Oi, that's my wife and sister-in-law you're talking about and both of them already get a damn sight more than a living wage, more than me as well. I'd suggest getting rid of the bone idle ones and cutting the salaries of the remainder. Actually for at least one year they did get their extra pay suspended. A few of our clients are state concerns and the work ethic has to be seen, they wander in late, disappear for breakfast, return for lunch, spend all afternoon chatting and drinking coffee then leave as if they'd arrived early. Incredibly as they have taken the oposiciones these are supposedly the best of the bunch.

              2. Chris Miller

                Re: A very rude man from the Ministry of Obstruction

                I agree, Lester, but (let's face it) it ain't going to happen any time soon - think what it would do to (already sky-high) unemployment. A lot of Spain is quite close to the old Soviet system of "we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us". Shame, when the country and people are so lovely.

    2. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: A very rude man from the Ministry of Obstruction

      I think I see your problem:

      > Ministry of Obstruction declined to authorise the Intercommunity transfer of explosives, citing local law

      There are two points to appreciate. The first is that Spain's version of democracy makes everything illegal unless explicitly permitted. The second is that if you don't like the local laws, just go down the road - they'll be different there (repeat until you either find laws that you like, or run out of road - in which case, prepare the ever-effective and still extremely popular plain brown envelope)

      A friend decided to import his venerable old Land Rover. This involved taking it down to the local MoT (in Spain: ITV - run by the government, not a local garage) testing station and starting the process of having it registered. The individual there had never seen a Landy before and duly pronounced it to be a Lorry (pretty obvious really: since it had 4 wheels and seats inside) and therefore would cost €12,000 to "process" and would have to be re-tested every 6 months - it being a "commercial" vehicle 'n' all.

      Rather than do the typical brit thing of stumping up and grumbliing a bit, he took to to a different ITV station, in a place just a leeeetle more wordly (where the donkeys have straw hats) and duly got it declared a car and subject to the usual domestic arrangements for transferring to a spanish registration - which only required the payment of several hundred €€€s and was brown-envelope free.

      The caveat being, that while local laws are both arbitrary and geographically inconstant (and interpreted by individuals with neither the qualifications nor the motivation to make an informed choice) they can - and frequently are - revised without any warning or notification. Worse than that: they appear to be capable of retrospective revision, with fines payable for transgressions that come about due to changes - even if things were done legally under the "old" law.

      P.S. There isn't one single Ministry of Obstruction, all the Ministries serve that purpose.

  9. Rich 11 Silver badge


    In the US you can pretty well get them in Walmart

    You'll find them next to the autorifle section, just along the aisle from the trained attack wolverines armed with rocket launchers.

    Apparently it's where the Ferguson cops do all their shopping.

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

      Re: Longburn

      Actually, the reloads are stacked beside the sharks aimed with frikkin' lasers tank.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: Longburn

        Given the layout of my local Wally World I'd half expect them to be located between the stationary and cleaning chemicals, you know right next to the LPG exchange rack.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Longburn

        Don't make fun of the shark tank. I like being able to pick out my own marine predation system as if it were a lobster in a seafood restaurant!

  10. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Well done Lester

    Is there any possibility of fastening the said bureaucrat to the launcher? I'd pay to see that...

    p.s. what happened to mugs with the paintjob design?

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

      Re: Well done Lester

      I'm not going to waste good helium on the bloke. We've got a mission patch logo mug on the brew. I've marked you down for some merch.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well done Lester

      It would more poetic to use his butt as the launch pad.

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It'll be the blighty mug for me.

    ... now where do I sign?

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

      Re: It'll be the blighty mug for me.

      On Kickstarter, imminently

  12. Mintyboy

    Cowboy Playmanaught

    Good On you guys moving away from the EU sorry Franco's Army.

    There is one major issue the Autopilot has been programmed to avoid trees....

    What about Cacti?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Cowboy Playmanaught

      No, no no! You've got this wrong. Only an idiot would program their autopilot to avoid trees. If you tell the aircraft that their are trees, it will find them! This is a cast-iron law of aviation. You simply whistle quietly to yourself, muttering, "Trees? Trees? No, none of those round here." Then hope it doesn't notice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cowboy Playmanaught

        > only an idiot would program their autopilot to avoid trees.

        So, needs to be a reverse cowboy playmonaut then?

  13. cookieMonster
    Thumb Up

    I'm in

    always fancied a nice Reg mug...

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: I'm in

      But will they be proper shed-sized pint mugs, or measly, pointless little things?

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

        Re: Re: I'm in

        Have a look:

  14. Robert Masters
    Paris Hilton


    I know it is a *little* premature, but I've been pondering post-LOHAN life, and wondering "What next?".

    Then I remembered a little bit of model rocketry folklore. There was one fellow who claims to have put a model (high-power) rocket into orbit, with the aid of a balloon. This was never confirmed, although the physics checked out - just.

    My biggest problem at the moment is coming up with a suitable backronym,

    So, howabout it?

    1. Eugene Crosser

      Re: Post-Lohan...

      Even if you where able to get to 160 km altitude by balloon you'd only save 20% in delta-v. 7.8×10³ m/s is quite a lot to gain...

      But, hell, that would be something!

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Post-Lohan...

        However, ΔV isn't the only thing to worry about... an altitude launch would cut out almost all the aerodynamic drag regime.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Post-Lohan...

          The problem is not that getting stuff to orbit means lifting it very high. The problem is an orbit means moving sideways. REALLY fast. You cant get that sideways movement with a balloon. You do cut the atmospheric drag portion (mostly), but its still a LOT of deltaV to achieve orbit

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

      Re: Post-Lohan...

      What next? A week on a beach in the Caribbean, that's what next.

  15. cookieMonster

    Arggggg - There's already a project LOHAN on KS

    bummer !!!!

  16. lampbus

    There's always the North

    Its a shame you can't use

    Lots of pipe smoking history there.

    Now, IF Scotland leaves the Union and falls out of the EU...

    (Spadeadam is in England, but I know of a rocket summer camp that meets just over the border)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't bother coming back if after all these years of preparation the thing fails!

    (joke - kind of - I'm a Reg Commentard who hopes this thing flies)

  18. Herby

    Spain has all sorts of problems!

    NASA (actually JPL's) Deep Space Network has an operation there and they had a nice tax advantaged status. Spain decided to change the rules (that the rest of the EU was more than happy to accept. They are now thinking of moving to South Africa (previously banned by Apartheid, but not any more) for the nice new dishes. Nobody remembers that these guys DO spread a bunch of loot around in the local economy.

    So, welcome to the USA. Relax and have a few. Of course, if you really want good rocket engines, ask the Imperial War Museum for that Werner Von Braun model they have standing in the middle of the main exhibit hall. It would work quite well (take a bunch of Helium to get to altitude, but you wouldn't need much.

    Yes, I want the mug as well!

  19. Alister Silver badge

    Given the support you've had from the Dutch, French and Germans authorities, I'm curious why you don't try for launch in one of those countries?

    OK so Germany has a lot of trees, so that may be a bad idea...

    1. lampbus

      New Mexico ... looks like the software will need an update to avoid cacti.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        There's a spike in the GPS system...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And if the local officials give you any problems, you can always shave your head and change your nomme de guerre to Heisenberg.

    2. Grikath

      Holland: 50% water, rest is either 'leccy tower, highway, dense urban jungle, all sided, fronted, and accompanied by trees. Plus it's rather densely populated in the skies, and the Officials *really* don't like anything to do with potential explosives. LOHAN's combined package would not get permission to lift off, and one test package has already met a probably watery end in one of North Hollands' semipermanently flooded meadows or the IJsselmeer.

      Oh, and the weather over here is ..welll... good luck picking a launch window...

      Germany: too. many. damned. trees. Often in places with a distinct lack of roads, or near-vertical geography. Or if you're unlucky, and the jetstream has a "good day", you'll be picking up the plane far into eastern Europe..

      France: "Ze english, zey vant to do vat?!!!!!" Also trees, vinyards, and the not-so-slight chance of LOHAN ending up somewhere in the Pyrenees or the Alps (trees optional)

      As much as I would have loved a Euro lanch, New Mexico is in a pure technical sense a better option.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        I believe experimental rocketry is well supported in Germany, you just have to point the rockets north-west and not care "where they come down"

  20. joeW

    Standing by for Kickstarter

    I can't contribute gear, knowledge or anything else technical, but I can damn well chuck you a few quid and be hapy to help.

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

      Re: Standing by for Kickstarter

      Good man. We appreciate all our beloved readers' support over the years, and now more than ever, naturally.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Standing by for Kickstarter

        What about your unloved readers? How can we help??

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

          Re: Re: Standing by for Kickstarter

          Unloved readers can seek redemption by flashing the cash. It'll act as a sort of deathbed guarantee of entrance to heaven.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Standing by for Kickstarter

            That sounds worryingly similar to the Catholic Church's policy of forgiveness after receipt of the correct payment for marriage after divorce, eating meat on a Friday, and 1001 other minor things. Only, thankfully, for a better cause.

  21. TRT Silver badge

    Somehow it seems familiar, the idea of...

    a couple of guys heading out into the New Mexico desert in an RV to do something slightly dodgy and dangerous which involves chemicals and film cameras.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Somehow it seems familiar, the idea of...

      And trying to get as high as possible?

  22. Peter Simpson 1

    The important stuff

    Have you obtained a list of watering holes near the launch site yet?

    Welcome to the land of Robert Goddard, boys!

    (well, actually, Goddard did his stuff right down the road from me in Worcester...apparently there's a monument to him in the middle of a golf course)

    Edit: You're in luck! There's another monument to him in Roswell, New Mexico!

  23. ukgnome

    give me the damn kickstarter link already!

    I promise cash for stuff!

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

      We're just tweaking and doing the formailities. We'll be happy to provide stuff for wonga as soon as possible.

  24. Pet Peeve

    Totally in for a patch.

    The Spaceport is in an interesting place in New Mexico - it's heavy desert, with much more forested areas all around it (though I don't think the magnetic tree flux will be a problem). Take the time to sightsee when you're there - New Mexico is a really underappreciated state.

  25. hammarbtyp

    Careful what you say

    Be careful how you phrase it.

    A funnding request to allow you to "Do Lohan" may well raise the required funding, but could well pique the interest of local law enforcemnent

    1. The Dude
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Careful what you say

      But in Nevada (not too far away) you would get directions and a map of all the places you could do it.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spanish Government

    Suffering regularly at the Gibraltar land border, I can tell you the Spanish Government are a complete bunch of w*****s, and the Guardia Civil are a paramilitary force who have not noticed Franco is gone.

  27. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Explosives factory

    So; are you going to open one, or at least apply to open one?

    That's got to be worth a few giggles along the way.

    Seems apt -->

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Explosives factory

      Stretch goal!

      Best way to beat bureaucracy is enjoin it in shenanigans. Probably find you could get EU development grants to cover sheds and a few berms.

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

      Re: Explosives factory

      I'm half tempted to complete the paperwork and send it to the guy. It'd also be worth it too see the expression on the local mayor's face when I roll up with the planning application.

      1. joeW

        Re: Explosives factory

        Launch a seperate kickstarter for it if funds would be an issue - I'd chuck a few quid at that too. An actual, honest-to-goodness El Reg SPB Explosives Factory!

        Plus once LOHAN has soared skywards, I have no doubt you'll be doing some other shenannigans involving rocketry. Would be a handy certification to have.

      2. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Explosives factory

        Just remember, thick walls, thin roof: that's how you build 'em...

      3. Grikath

        Re: Explosives factory

        It Has To Be Done!

        Also. Doesn't this particular example of officious buffoonery have a superior who may be a little more inclined to recognise that it's not really good PR to snub a project of a rather well-known if not (in)famous online IT news outlet?

      4. CmdrX3

        Re: Explosives factory

        Explosives factory..... Just the job for the SPB as it's next (comedic) project. Get that paperwork in and get the ball rolling.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Explosives factory

          The SPB/El Reg line of Christmas crackers??

          (Icon in no way foreshadows future outcome of this enterprise)

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      5. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Explosives factory

        I to agree to making it a stretch goal. Even if its just to force some beaurocrat to have to do some actual work.

  28. Chris G Silver badge

    Have Card

    Want Euro shirt.

    Good luck with the not at all obstructive TSA, apparently even the Pope has to bend over on entry!

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: Have Card

      ICE Guy: What's the purpose of your visit?

      Lester: We want to launch this rocket in New Mexico

      ICE Guy: Have a seat over there, please.

  29. Stelios Zacharias


    Rather upset that I won't be able to come to the launch with Ariadne... Spain: I could just about handle the cost and the free movement of people in the EU helps. USA: well, that's something else. Oh well. Let us know when the kickstarter goes live.

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

      Re: Gutted!

      Sorry mate. I was going to drop you a line with the news this afternoon. I'll send you a nice mug as small recompense.

      1. Stelios Zacharias

        Re: Gutted!

        No probs - can't let bureaucracy stand in the way of science...

  30. Marcus Aurelius

    Isn't this sort of thing

    ...what MPs and Foreign Office chappies are for?

    There's surely a lot of them right now staring at suntanned senoritas in Spain, so surely one can be found to sort your dilemma

  31. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge

    That will do nicely...

    Count me in: A LOHAN mug will be an excellent companion to the BOFH one I got some years ago.

    How about a second Kickstarter to fund a ticket for Ariadne and family?

    1. TimR

      Re: That will do nicely...

      How about a second Kickstarter to fund a ticket for Ariadne and family?


      1. fruitoftheloon

        Re: That will do nicely...


    2. Big Ben

      Re: That will do nicely...

      It could make a good stretch goal.

    3. Stelios Zacharias

      Re: That will do nicely...

      "How about a second Kickstarter to fund a ticket for Ariadne and family?"

      Errm, that's touching, thanks, but I am sure there are a ton of people who have done more for the Vulture 2 than hand some crayons to a toddler. So I'll pass (and miss out on the cavity search on arrival).

  32. Rick Brasche

    sadly not "available at WalMart" here either

    can't pick up anything bigger than a C (about the size of the battery of the same designation) at a store without proper documentation and license. IIRC even the bog standard D size is now considered powerful enough to be under that restriction.

    The reloadables El Reg is using are well within "high powered rocketry" and require a lot of hoop jumping.

    Yes, all Europe's ridicule of American freedoms is coming home to roost. We're becoming as No-Fun as the the UK and EU! :(

    1. willi0000000

      Re: sadly not "available at WalMart" here either

      no problem . . . just launch it from an AR-15 and the authorities will be falling all over you to help.

      [just another use for Randall Munroe's Machine Gun Jetpack]

    2. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: sadly not "available at WalMart" here either

      The reloadables El Reg is using are well within "high powered rocketry" and require a lot of hoop jumping.

      ...or the addition to the team of a local already in posession of the necessary certifications. Yet another problem easily solved by the application of a sufficient amount of high quality (none o' yer Budweiser crap, then) liquid refreshment.

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

        Re: Re: sadly not "available at WalMart" here either

        It's even easier. Buy reloads online, email copy of LOHAN team member Paul "Lord Shax" Shackletons's Blighty L2 cert, and say we'll pick 'em up when we arrive. All done and dusted in about four hours.

    3. Fred Bauer

      Re: sadly not "available at WalMart" here either

      Thankfully, after a protracted legal battle a few years back high power rockets in the US are no longer classed as explosives, making their use much easier for the hobbyist. You still can't get them at Walmart, but all you need to do is prove you are competent to one of the two US hobbyist rocketry associations (or the foreign equivalent.)

      As for FAA certifications, yes they are required, but they are routinely issued. The main reason for them is so the FAA can warn pilots that rockets (and balloons) may be in an area.

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

        Re: Re: sadly not "available at WalMart" here either

        Yup, the classification of hobbyist reloads as non-explosive was a moment of good sense in an otherwise insane world.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: sadly not "available at WalMart" here either

          Rocket motors aren't explosive - unless you are very unlucky - they are deflagration.

  33. JimmyPage
    Thumb Up

    Drifting slightly ...

    ISTR when Richard "the Hamster" Hammond (he's not a real hamster) did a prog about "could the gunpowder plot have succeeded"[1], they couldn't - for whatever reason - buy enough gunpowder in the UK. Ironically[2] it had to come from Spain. *Very* secretly.

    [1]Oh yes, and then some !!!!

    [2] Because Guy Fawkes learned his gunpowder skills in Spain.

  34. drone2903 in Kanuckistant

    Card at ready

    I'll have a mug and a patch, with the North America proudly displayed. Merci

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is there not some law in the US about auto pilots on rockets etc.

    I remember watchin asomething about the amateur rocket guys

  36. TMMITW

    Texas Support Team

    As a long time Reg reader and fan of the SPB, I am happy that our Great Nation (tm) will have a role in this, mankind's greatest endeavor. It is also refreshing to see that other governments are as screwed up as ours. (Note: our governor was just indicted on criminal charges.)

    Perhaps we should organize a local support team/fan club to take part in these festivities. It's only 620 miles from Austin to White Sands, NM so we're in the neighborhood.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Non-lateral thinking....


  38. Henry Minute

    What about the Tabernamque?

    I understand that they have such establishments in the land of the free but what will you do for beer?

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: What about the Tabernamque?

      We have plenty of good beer here in the good ol' U S of A. It's just that they don't have the advertising budget of InBev N. A. (brewers of such "fine" brands as Budweiser) Just how much of the good stuff will be available in the watering holes of New Mexico, I can't help you with. Need some local guidance there, I'm afraid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the Tabernamque?

        I don't know about southern New Mexico (where White Sands and the spaceport is), but I know some really nice bars and restaurants in Albaquerque.

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

          Re: Re: What about the Tabernamque?

          We're thinking of having Reg reader cocktail (=beer) night while we're over in either Las Cruces or Albuquerque. Keep your diary clear.

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

        Re: Re: What about the Tabernamque?

        Fret ye not, our crack team has a nose for decent beer worldwide.

  39. John Gamble

    A Very Special Project

    I'm in.

    So... just how close to Area 51 will your launch or landing site be?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: A Very Special Project

      Sadly there are about 400-500 miles between White Sands and Area 51. Basically Arizona plus good-sized chunks of Nevada and New Mexico are in the way.

      But maybe the nice people at White Sands will let the SPB team launch from the Trinity atomic test site! There's an obelisk or something there that marks the spot of the test, if you can find it amongst the radiation-mutated ants, spiders and jackrabbits!!

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: A Very Special Project

        > But maybe the nice people at White Sands will let the SPB team launch from the Trinity atomic test site!

        I drove past there a few years back on my way from Albuquerque to Alamagordo. Basically, there's a gate with a lock on it which is only opened for 1 day a year. That is the only route down to the test site - and it's a long way from the road. There are a few roadside stalls selling "atomic" rocks (i.e. rocks) but that's about your lot. The test site was chosen because it's very difficult to get to.

        Otherwise, there might be a town within 50 miles (I stopped to gas-up) but that's about your lot.

        1. Pet Peeve

          Re: A Very Special Project

          Whatever you do, do not follow GPS directions in this area if they take you off the main roads. People have died in the desert because their GPS's mapbase had dirt roads impassible with anything short of a deuce-and-a-half in it.

          Also, depending on the time of year, do not be surprised if it goes below freezing, randomly drops 3 inches of rain in an hour on your head, or blizzards (which will flash to steam 5 minutes after the sun comes up). New Mexico deserts are seriously weird.

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

            Re: Re: A Very Special Project

            I don't follow GPS direction in Europe. Paper map, a compass and an astrolabe. It's the future, trust me.

  40. Alistair

    Could you tilt that "US" map view north by about 25 °?

    Who knows, you could find stretches of Alberta or Saskatechewan suitable to purpose.

    I'll still chip in though, a mug sounds right.

    Icon, since we've got generally better tasting bevvies up here and you'll want one.

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: Could you tilt that "US" map view north by about 25 °?

      @Lester: You're missing a trick by not offering a LOHAN-branded pint glass...

      // just sayin'

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

        Re: Re: Could you tilt that "US" map view north by about 25 °?

        We were looking at engraved LOHAN pint receptacles this afternoon. They are bleedin' expensive, though, and once we add the tin-rattling premium on top...

        1. Pet Peeve

          Re: Could you tilt that "US" map view north by about 25 °?

          You can get an engraver attachment for this...

          You'd have to bodge the mount a bit to make it work for a glass, but if I remember right, instructions for it are in the docs.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh wait--since as far as I can tell, nobody has already said this in this topic....

    Spaceport America!! You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villiany. We must be cautious.

    (OK, now that's done)

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

      Re: Oh wait--since as far as I can tell, nobody has already said this in this topic....

      And indeed when we arrive at customs: "This is not the spaceplane team you're looking for."

  42. thx1138v2

    The Vogns are here! The Vogons are here!

    Resistance is futile! Carlos Primero is useless!

  43. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Better yet

    Move the whole shebang to Gibraltar - that will piss them off... Put the petard up their donkeys, so to say.

  44. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A bad feeling....

    I have a bad feeling about a group of "furiners" coming in through US Customs, etc. lugging a spaceplane in their baggage. That group of idiots guarding the borders will probably assume you're a bunch of terrorists. Ship the plane first and see if it gets through Customs. Worst case.... find someone at Boeing or SpaceX to ship it to.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: A bad feeling....

      "lugging a spaceplane in their baggage."

      I'm sure a wig and fake beard will make Lester look just like Richard Branson :-)

  45. John Gamble

    By the way, I'll be trying to get both a Europe-view and North America-view patch. Will you have your Kickstarter rewards set up to handle this?

    I only ask because this sort of thing often gets asked on KS itself, at which point the project owner starts to realize they need to do special tricks. I thought I'd maybe save you some effort.

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

      Patch pair

      I'm a Kickstarter newbie, so can you not pledge for both patches, or do we have to offer a double patch option?

      1. cookieMonster
        Thumb Up

        Re: Patch pair

        I'd suggest that you have a double patch option, just for the sheer simplicity of fulfilment once it comes to shipping ....

        Two pledges = two transactions (and two times the fees), double the grief with trying to figure out how many of what to who etc....

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

          Re: Re: Patch pair

          Makes sense. Consider it done

  46. Chris G Silver badge


    This is interesting:

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

      Re: Re-Fuel

      Works for me.

    2. Pet Peeve

      Re: Re-Fuel

      TOTALLY true. New Mexicans love their craftbrews.

  47. Someone Else Silver badge

    Ahh, New Mexico!

    Good choice, gents (and ladies)!

    For the uninitiated, it may take, but you really must avail yourselves of the local delicacies; to wit: green chile enchiladas, New Mexican style (which means, served flat, with an egg on top), and sopapillas which make for effective fire extinguishers (ask a local, s/he will tell you how to use them). Practice by getting a green chile cheeseburger!

    One request: The LOHAN vehicle should have a Zia symbol emblazoned on it somewhere.

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

      Re: Ahh, New Mexico!

      Green chile enchiladas? Bring it on.

      What's this Zia symbol malarky?

      1. Pet Peeve

        Re: Ahh, New Mexico!

        Zia tribe sacred symbol for the sun. By law, every home in New Mexico must have that and/or a kokopelli on it someplace.

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

          Re: Re: Ahh, New Mexico!

          Duly noted.

        2. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: Ahh, New Mexico!

          Don't know about "kokopelli" (It's Hopi, which is an Arizona tribe/nation), but the state flag of New Mexico is a yellow field with a red Zia symbol on it. When I first got there, it didn't take long to realize that the thing was everywhere!. Pet Peeve is right about it being the sacred sun symbol of the Zia Pueblo people, and there certainly is an unwritten law that is must appear everywhere....

          1. Pet Peeve

            Re: Ahh, New Mexico!

            I didn't mean a literal law. And I swear that half the businesses in Santa Fe have Kokopelli in their name somewhere.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahh, New Mexico!

        "Green chile enchiladas? Bring it on."

        And get a real quesadilla while in New Mexico. Not that warmed over Taco Bell stuff you were talking about in you pub nosh article 6-8 months ago

  48. Joe Loughry

    Vulture stickers on Kickstarter please?

    Just a plain vulture sticker, that's all I want. We already know they exist...but no one outside El Reg's office can get them.

    Pretty please?

    (Queueing up to support you on Kickstarter as soon as the project is announced.)

  49. Tempest8008

    At least I'll be able to follow the action at a sensible hour this time around...

    I'll be in the same time zone as Lester! I'm all giddy!

    And yes, beware of US Customs.

    Make no jokes, don't wear a belt, and use loafers. Putting yourself back together after being searched never does much for the ego.

  50. mtp


    Pure Douglas Adams.

    1. Pet Peeve

      Re: HHGTTG

      Sigh. The unfinished Dirk Gently novel ended just as he arrived in New Mexico.

      By the way, if you see one of these signs:

      It's not nearly as philosophical as it appears. Winds across the highway are quite able to push your car 3 lanes over on a bad day.

  51. Miami Mike
    Black Helicopters

    Plan ahead . . . really

    I really do think you ought to ship the hardware on ahead, split up into several small, innocuous boxes labeled "electronics parts" or similar, perhaps to a gun shop with the appropriate FFL licensing. It isn't a firearm, but your Spanish Inquisitor's moron brother who came here in 1938 and now works at TSA ("Too Stupid for Arby's" - a low rent sandwich shop chain here) might decide it is a "destructive device" of some sort. Alternatively, make some kind of a "co-research" deal with some local junior college and let them deal with the paperwork.

    You may also have to pay import duty on some of this stuff even if you declare it as "personal use only". Anything made in the USA is duty exempt as you are simply "bringing it home".

    Do NOT "just show up" at the airport with big grins and a suitcase with all the wires and cylinders and dangling electric gizzies and expect to clear customs . . . nowadays that just ain't gonna happen. Having dealt with US customs on more than a few strange shipments, be aware that you just might need some help here. There's nothing cheap or cheerful about them.

  52. JD999uk

    For those of you who have never suffered Spanish red tape.....

    Pretty much explains it.....

  53. foo_bar_baz

    Goodbye bureaucracy

    Hello civil lawsuits.

  54. This post has been deleted by its author

  55. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    "Spanish launch goes titsup"

    Isn't titsup the usual operating mode for a LOHAN?

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

      Re: "Spanish launch goes titsup"

      It is - allegedly.

  56. MajorTom

    Now you're talking

    At last, El Reg comes to my part of the world. Perhaps I can help! To wit:

    1. I've got a Cesaroni J engine (might be 3G) that's yours for the asking, and the usual adapters for fitting different dia. vehicles. Only hitch is that I'm up in Seattle. Can't get these at Walmart, but the courier delivery guy did drop it off at my house, only after I promised over the phone to lie to his boss and say I was physically present when he dropped off (this hazardous material). So yes it's relatively easy to ship these in US of A.

    2. My folks live in New Mexico, unfortunately, way up in Santa Fe. But they have lots of friends and might find you a place to stay down in Las Cruces. How many of you will there be?

    3. Why bother with the Caribbean after the flight? You've got one of the most interesting places in the USA to explore. For starters, White Sands missile range is close by, as is Alamogordo. Both have missile or space museums... Then there's El Paso TX, go to the ('murican) Taco Bell there, it's surreal... If you time your visit right you might even get to visit the Trinity Site.



    1. ibchristian

      Re: Now you're talking

      Tom sounds like he has the hot setup. Lester, I would seriously consider his offer... El Reg has more fans in the states then you may realize... just sayin'!

  57. Mike H.

    This makes the best reading ever

    Keep writing this stuff guys, it's brilliant :-)

    Made my kickstarter Donation yesterday :-)

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

      Re: This makes the best reading ever

      We will keep writing. Thanks for your support.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021