back to article Reader experts thrash LOHAN's mighty rod

There's some lively debate going on down at the Reg forums LOHAN mosh pit regarding whether using a metal rod launch system for our Vulture 2 spaceplane really is the way to go. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic We're delighted that you lot have taken the time to do a bit of head-scratching on what is one …


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  1. Chris Morrison

    What's the difference between a rubber pad at -60 degrees and a bit of aluminium at -60? I would guess not a lot, therefore I question what the rubber is going to achieve?

  2. Andus McCoatover

    If the rod was heated somewhat before release..

    Surely some kind of ASBO (Assisted Stratospherically Barometrically Operated) heating system would put the worries to rest.

    Just thinking about a couple of iMac lap-warming batteries, strategiatrlly placed, and shorted out when the ASBO comes into force, might see off the ice before release of LOHAN...?

  3. Doug 14

    How about this ?

    Launch from two rods , in the 10 o'clock 2 o'clock poisitions when viewed face on. Also junk the aluminium plate altogether and insted have a couple of 'bolts' at the tail end of the launch rods preventing LOHAN from slipping off the rear ... fnarrr fnarrr

    1. Ralph B

      Re: How about this ?

      That deals with rocket blowing the truss backwards, but increases the risk of LOHAN sticking - since she's now being penetrated by two rods rather than one. (snarf.)

      I think LOHAN sticking is as big a potential problem as LOHAN pushing the truss backwards. If she sticks she'll pull the truss forwards and launch directly at the balloon, or even spin round and round like a high-altitude catherine-wheel.

  4. RedRichie

    Umm... mighty flaps?!


    Investigation (in to)








    ...or PISSFLAPS for short.

    Actually, it looks great - really enjoying following this :)

  5. StillNoCouch

    Pack the her rod with waming goodness ?

    If you're modifications include switching from a Titanium "rod" (solid) to a Titanium "tube" (hollow), one could consider filling the tube with the contents of those disposable hand warmers (iron powder, salt, activated charcoal & vermiculite).

    Although this requires air to work, if the tube could be ventilated with small pin-sized holes along it's top, that should provide sufficient air to enter with the holes being too small to leak the granular substance (possibly strain or sift first to remove the finest particles, but this would require a test to ensure you didn't sift out too much of the active ingredients).

    I imagine that icing only occurs at 'relatively low' altitudes, so the tube would only have to be warmed for the first stages of ascent ... probably not the whole way up ( but I have patently NO understanding of the physics and conditions here and I'm likely illustrating my dire need of additional IQ points )

    To counter the "reaction affect" of the engine on the aluminum plate, consider using a wire screen of some sort .. would provide you with ample surface area while allowing the thrust of the engine to pass through the 'barrier' with little-to-no resistance.

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

      Re: Pack the her rod with waming goodness ?

      Yes, I'm quite taken with the hand warmer powder idea. If we need heating, this may be the way to go...

  6. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    Is it just me

    or has El Reg's double entendre department taken a turn towards the kinky?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Is it just me

      Well it's been sitting next to the kinky with its indicator going for the last few years, so I wouldn't be surprised,

  7. Bigpatc

    Eliminate the back plate

    Eliminate the back plate entirely. Saves weight and is unnecessary. Use 2 L irons to space the rod from the Truss, on at the rear and one at the end of the guide tube on the plane. A stronger connection than just the endpoint.


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What does the truss actually do?

    Suspend the avionics under balloon (on a short stiff rod if you want to reduce swing) with the launch guide projecting up & away...from the lowest point to keep the rocket exhaust clear...

    O balloon (not to scale)


    | string


    || pole


    || /

    [ ]/ avionics with launch rod

    (hope it dosnt strip spaces)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Truss?

      I must be going through e.e. cummings withdrawal. I tried to read that...

      O' balloon, not to scale, I, I string, I,...

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