back to article For heaven's sake: Japan boffins fail to release paper planes in space after rice wine added to rocket fuel

Japanese rocket boffins' hopes of following up a successful third launch of the MOMO Sounding Rocket with MOMO-F4 were dashed over the weekend as the commercial launcher plopped into the sea after a mere 172 seconds of flight. Longtime Register readers will be interested to note that aboard the rocket, capable of lobbing a …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "an apogee of just 13.3km before the rocket rendezvoused with the sea 9km downrange from the launch site in Taiki-cho, Hokkaido.

    We, of course, successfully undertook our own Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) project from a lofty 89,591ft."

    There's their problem, right there. They're using newfangled metric measurements while el Reg went full Mogg with Imperial units.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1

      Unit fabrication

      > full Mogg with Imperial units

      I propose the ogg: the number of hours by which one is out of touch with reality. A Jacob Rees kogg would be catching up with events just before midsummer, but a Rees Mogg is stuck about a decade before World War I.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: imperial units

        Rees Mogg is stuck about a decade before World War I.

        I beg to differ.

        My guestimate is that he was born out of the debris of the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805 and is stuck in an early Victorial time warp that every so often broaches itself into the 21st Century.

        1. Jonathan Richards 1
          Thumb Up

          Re: imperial units

          +1 for the insight, but the three emperors of Austerlitz are at 1.87Mogg.

    2. Psmo Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      LMGFY : 89,591ft = 27,3km so double what this launch managed, though only a quarter of what the third launch (113.4km) managed.

      For PARIS as far as I recall release was not manual or timed, but was dependent on a pressure release to ensure that premature ejection did not occur. This went through a lot of variations as it proved quite tricky.

      Maybe the guy with the manual release got his sums on the rise rate wrong?

  2. FozzyBear

    I know where they went wrong. They allowed some corporate muppet name the rocket.

    If, however, they deferred the naming of the rocket to an online community of intelligent, self deprecating individuals with a love of all things science and tech......

    1. VikiAi

      .... it would have been called "Rockety McRocketface"

      1. beep54

        You say that as if it would have been a bad thing.

        1. VikiAi

          I think the whole Facey McFaceFace thing is a bit old and tired now.

          But who am I to dictate the will of the people?!

          1. 9Rune5 Silver badge

            But who am I to dictate the will of the people?!

            You are obviously Dictaty McDictatorface and I claim my five pounds.

            1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
              Black Helicopters

              Zero to hero?

              I just wonder who thought it a good idea to call the next one "Zero", given the historic usage by Kamikaze pilots?

              1. stiine Silver badge

                Re: Zero to hero?

                A Japanese person?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >whole Facey McFaceFace thing is a bit old and tired now.

            Believe me, at NERC (the people who did the original competition) it got old about 5 minutes after the syggestion was posted. It didn't help that the whole thing was done in a rush and the people who bought the process from an external body didn't actually have a clue and neither did the external body leaving the poor people that had to administer it a whole heap of cans of worms.

            Err.. allegedly.

            It also doesn't help that the muppet who suggested the name then copyrighted it and any use by NERC outside of the original purpose would result in a large bill. Because the commissioning people forgot to add any legal T's & C's to the whole process.

  3. Robert Moore
    Black Helicopters

    A suggestion

    "Our attempts to follow up the project with the mighty rocket-powered Vulture 2 in the form of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) remain mired in red tape for the time being."

    Pack the whole thing off to some country with less red tape. Some place with an aversion to western interfearance. Perhaps somewhere with a penchant for burning of highly combustable flag shaped objects.

    1. TDog

      Re: A suggestion

      So that's America then?

      1. VikiAi

        Slightly OT:

        The belligerent burning of US flags has always seemed a bit funny to me, since in the US (and the West in general), burning* is considered the most respectful* method of disposing of old national flags!

        * Okay, technically "incineration" - the flag is neatly folded and fed respectfully into the furnace, not waved around or jumped on while alight (the important thing is the national flag doesn't end up sharing a rubbish dump with a pile of rotting food scraps or used as an oil rag, hence the preference for incineration).

        1. Trygve Henriksen

          Re: Slightly OT:

          No, burning a flag can be considered a declaration of war if done by an official of a forreign country. A soldier(even a Private) as long as he's wearing a uniform will do nicely.

          If it's done by a citizen of the country the flag is from it's considered at best as thoughtless, and at worst, Treason.

          Pick apart the seams and burn the colours individually instead. Then you're not burning a flag, only pieces of coloured cloth.

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: Slightly OT:

            The thing is, usually when you see someone burning a flag, its pretty obvious that they've bought the flag from somewhere recently.

            Which in my book would make it their flag, after all, they did pay for it...

    2. Tikimon

      Re: A suggestion

      And I seem to be the only one insisting that it needs actual flight testing! As far as I know, the plane has never actually flown, even in a drop test from an aircraft. Ask any professional test pilot how many weird little problems a new aircraft has.

      If it crashes what are the odds of a second try? Pretty much Zero. So do everything (affordably) possible to get it right the first time. An unpowered drop test would test its flight capabilities AND the control software (it's supposed to be autonomous). Surely someone with a wind tunnel could be persuaded (case of beer?) to test its structural integrity at high speed. If I recall right they already redesigned the control pivots once. What else is lurking?

      I hope LOHAN flies one day, and I'd really like it to succeed, not crash or break up in midair.

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Don't mention the War

    " the ZERO, which will be capable of flinging 100kg payloads into a 500km sun synchronous orbit, in competition with the likes of Rocket Lab."

    In the unfortunate event of a ZERO launcher failing and plummeting to Earth, may we expect a headline with the word Kamikaze from the subs?

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Don't mention the War

      Tora tora tora...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't mention the War

        "Tora tora tora"

        Don't they make Suet?

  5. Conundrum1885


    May have some ideas, if my analysis is correct CERN have discovered sufficient anomalies in antimatter (specifically cold antihydrogen) to justify trying this experiment as in order for any weak antigravity to show up it has to only be near the centre of that chamber: too close to a wall and electrostatics takes over.

    Additional data would be the mysterious belt of antimatter around Earth and also evidence of positrons in thunderstorms suggesting that we may have overlooked something. Ball lightning is also strange enough to justify further study.

    In order to generate an antigravitational field it would have to trap the antimatter far enough from matter to offset its gravitational and electrostatic field(s).

    In real terms this means beyond the point at which the mass is detectable using atomic clocks, so for a small 25g spacecraft that would be around 150 metres.

    Charging up the spacecraft to a very high voltage may also assist with this and I've got some sketches here.

    In fact this could by itself account for the strange distribution of energetic positrons in the Universe, if they are produced as a byproduct of frequent travel then we should be able to see "space lanes" around particularly popular star systems similar to contrails from aircraft by mapping out direction and energy of incident particles here on Earth using supercomputers to process this information with feedback from existing terrestrial planet finder tables.

    The effect may indeed only work well with antihydrogen, the positrons are too hard for the drive to trap if freed from their host antiatoms so most simply get disposed of at the end of each trip and AP's recycled back into containment. This could lead to quite high energies in said positrons which we could also detect.

    Making AP's is not "Simplez" but positrons are comparatively easy as decay products from a number of isotopes.

  6. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

    I think I see the problem

    Sake should be at blood temperature. Rocket fuel is often cooled.

    I am very disappointed that the word origami wasn't snuck into the report unobtrusively.

    1. hammarbtyp

      Re: I think I see the problem

      am very disappointed that the word origami wasn't snuck into the report unobtrusively.

      It was originally, but the editor didn't like it, so the author folded...

      1. Jonathan Richards 1

        Re: I think I see the problem

        Ha! Creased me up.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    emergency abort or two

    There there... It's happened to the best of us at times.

    1. Conundrum1885

      Re: emergency abort or two

      I think the technical term is "Eject the warp core" followed by klaxons and a very large security door lowering.

  8. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    LOHAN must get high immediately!

  9. Unbelievable!

    dick speed

    Another great article with just the right amount of humour and excellent use of vernauclar and words i need to go and look up the meaning to.

    Dick Speed. sorry man. you'll no doubt get me back. (oo-err!) Soon. Probably too soon. lol

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