back to article Our LOHAN rocket ship team exits Spain with a bang

It's been a hell of a couple of weeks at the Special Project Bureau's mountaintop headquarters, as we took delivery of our Vulture 2 spaceplane, welcomed the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team to sunny Spain and then spent a frantic 10 days putting things together, blowing stuff up and rescuing lost playmonauts …


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  1. Alister Silver badge

    The LOBBER was a definite highlight, those of us on the chat were beginning to worry that you'd set up the camera in the wrong place...

    1. daveake

      We wanted to put the full week's worth of empties in front of the camera, but decided that the weight was far too much, and the camera would have had to be the other side of the street.

  2. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Soar like an eagle...

    Come on, I want to see that beauty fly.

    Don't tell me you haven't been tempted to try chucking it off the nearest hill and see if it survives?

  3. AndrueC Silver badge

    Wow - Paul is really moving in that second picture. He's a blur of activity :)

  4. Charles E


    Now that it's assembled, it looks even more like a JDAM.

    Pretty short wingspan, has anyone calculated the glide slope? Or flight tested it, even tossing it by hand?

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

      Re: Design

      Yes, experts have calculated the glide slope. I said at the end of the article that flight testing is our next step.

      1. PC Paul

        Re: Design

        I'll be interested to see how it glides, especially given that it looks designed for a high cruising speed. Maybe a KNICKERLASTIC bungee launcher could be useful?

        Where is the CG on it? Looks like it would be near the front of the main wings, where they meet the fuse?

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

          Re: Re: Design

          Not sure about the CofG yet, we have to shift stuff about to optimise. When we get it nailed, we'll let everyone know.

          1. MrT
            Thumb Up


   rocketry knowledge might be shown wanting with this comment - doesn't the CG need to be further back from the centre of thrust? If so, then that wing configuration is ideal. Reminds me of the Beechcraft Starship.

            Disclaimer: knowledge gleaned from a few hours of cocking about with the TopGear Reliant Shuttle simulator - it might be completely bass-ackwards ;-)

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

      Re: Design

      I must have missed something, because it doesn't look anything like a JDAM, or at least the one on that link.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Design

        Quote: "I must have missed something,"

        Not JDAM.


        Lester, mind confessing what is _REALLY_ in the payload?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Design

          Can't you build a really, really tiny nuclear bomb using the radioisotopes in a lot of smoke alarms, some beryllium powder, and a very carefully designed blob of Semtex?

          Then Lohan could have its own nuclear deterrent.

    3. andreas koch

      @ Charles E & Voland's right hand (& Lester) - Re: Design

      Naa, no resemblance.

      If there's any ancestry involved then it's more like the lovechild of a Rutan VariEze and a North American F-15.

  5. Annihilator

    Flight testing

    Are you planning on strapping it to a modified 747 in order to do your approach and landing tests? Followed by a world tour to show off your spaceflight supremacy?

  6. BarryM

    Cool Paint Job?

    While it does have a cool minimalist aesthetic at the moment, is it going to get a nifty new look for launch day?

    And does the intrepid Playmonaut get to go on the trip of a lifetime?

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

      Re: Cool Paint Job?

      Yup, and nice shiny paint job is in order.

      1. Roo

        Re: Cool Paint Job?

        Seeing the beast put together reminded me a bit of the artist impressions of the more exotic V-bombers. I would be tempted to paint it 'anti-flash white' and stick some pale pink & blue roundels on it. :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cool Paint Job?

          That would terrify the Falkland Islanders, given where the last V-bomber was used in anger. Way to go guys, develop a method of delivery of nuclear weapons which in reality poses more of a risk to your own side, and then when you finally use one of them, bomb your own airstrip.

          (There is no HTML irony tag)

  7. Andrew Newstead

    Barnes Wallis would be proud of you all, geodetic structure and a Swallow wing plan - brilliant!

    I had to watch the video without sound so you may have answered this already. When you test fly Vulture 2 will it be under radio control or are you going to try the autopilot? (or both even)

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

      First up, manual control, then gradually let the autopilot do more of the work until we're happy with the system tweaks.

  8. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    vid opening

    Anyone worked out the Morse code? And is that wonderfully throaty engine zooming by from a Spitfire or a Hurricane?

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: vid opening

      Anyone worked out the Morse code?


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

        Re: Re: vid opening

        Well done sir. I thought someone would have worked it out before now.

        1. andreas koch

          @ Lester Haines - Re: vid opening

          Thousands have . . .

          . . . and found it too un-geek to mention it at all.

  9. John Gamble

    Well Done

    More press conferences should be held after a few beers, is all I can say.

  10. MrT

    What was cooking on the barbeque...?

    ... or is there a more sinister reason for the smoke 'effects' about half-way through?

    1. Robert Heffernan

      Re: What was cooking on the barbeque...?

      Don't mind that, it was merely a North Korean spy who was caught trying to steal details of LOHAN and the rocket engine powering it. They are pretty desperate to steal the plans of a rocket that actually works.

    2. Martin Budden

      Re: What was cooking on the barbeque...?

      The smoke effects were from the smouldering remains of the LOBBER.

  11. Pet Peeve

    Speaking of the engine, what are you actually igniting? I don't think we ever talked about what kind of rocket engine was in use. A typical hobbyist engine like an estes D, or something built for the purpose?

    The craft looks beautiful. You could sell kits for it I think.

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

      I can tell you, as I said in the video, that we're using a Cesaroni 54mm 3G casing. Reload TBA...

  12. VulcanV5

    Lester's amigo

    A huge debt of gratitude is owed to Lester's amigo for facilitating the ground crew's accommodations. I have no soddin' idea at all where in Spain everyone is,but it looks very nice. Warm. Sunny. Is it possible to get a translation of Lester's amigo's website amidst all this hi tech stuff? I would like to come and sit back against a sun-warmed dry stone wall and stare up at balloons whilst sipping chilled Rioja. Or be advised of medication that can achieve the same effect.

  13. Alex Walsh
    Thumb Up

    While the Register can't lay claim to inventing the backronym, you surely use it better than anyone else on the planet :)

  14. Pet Peeve


    Oh, um, that's what a Cesaroni is? I thought it was the igniter.

    What kind of burn time and thrust, say compared to a hobbyist engine? Is it going to add a couple thousand feet to the top altitude, or be more significant?

  15. Andus McCoatover

    Well done guys - great video

    (IT angle..) Didn't realise until I looked at the task bar that I was using Midori to view it...

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