back to article Final LOHAN test flights codenamed 'Punch' and 'Judy'

The grand finale of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) saga is approaching, and is now so tantalisingly close you could almost reach out and stick a match to it. It's been a long, winding road, to be sure, but we still have a few things to wrap before we can finally see what happens when you stick a rocket motor …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just to be picky, I don't think you've been working on this since 1012.

    Mines the pedantic coat.

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

      A fair point. It feels like it though.

      1. daveake

        Actually, it was 1605.

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

          It was, and I still haven't forgiven Sir Thomas Knyvet for knocking the programme back 400 years.

          1. joeW

            Sir Thomas Knyvet

            Well thanks a whole bunch - I've been lost down the Wikipedia Hole for the past hour...

            1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

              Re: Sir Thomas Knyvet

              Seems he was a rather explosive character.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            I doff my hat the the man who managed to get a Blakes 7 reference out of that typo.

        2. Vic

          > Actually, it was 1605.

          Gone tea-time?

          And I thought I was a late starter...


  2. JonW
    Thumb Up

    fwiw, I heartily approve of the canine naming convention. If Johnny local doesn't "Get" it, that's his loss.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just launch it FFS

    see ^

  4. Francis Vaughan

    Bravo for these tests. I think they are pretty crucial.

    I do still worry that the motor will have problems at altitude, simply because there is so little air pressure that it may not be able to get motor up to operating pressure in time with what small amount of combusting material you have.

    The problem is that the rate of burn of the motor is linearly dependant upon the pressure. The nozzle provides a restriction that causes the motor pressure to rise - reaching a steady state when the motor is a at full thrust. But if there is almost no pressure to start with, the initial rate of of burn may be too low to climb onto the rising pressure curve, and instead simply peter out. Ignition with one atmosphere pressure is a big step onto this curve. This is why suggestions about some form of rupturing or pop-off cover for the nozzle are suggested. Such a cover can hold the pressure of the combustion products of the igniter inside the motor and you get a nice high pressure startup of the motor. Of course you then have the issue of designing a suitable cover.

    The point? Well if the test succeeds, you are fine. If it fails, this is almost certainly the solution. What you could consider is a dual trial. Think seriously about the design of a suitable cover, and maybe fly two motors. If the initial test fizzles, set it up to try igniting the second one.

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

      What I didn't mention is that we're going to test a motor before the flights in the REHAB chamber at both low pressure and temperature (dry ice ahoy). If that doesn't work, we'll have time to try a remedy before sending it aloft.

  5. Tank boy
    Thumb Up

    Good luck with your endeavors. Remember, you can launch a train into space if there's enough thrust.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Man, EVERYBODY on this forum plays Kerbal Space Program... sheesh.

  6. lawndart


    Punch & Judy? This is getting more and more Mad Science by the day.

    I half expect to see Othar Tryggvassen plummet out of the balloon on the way up.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: says

      Funny. I saw those names and thought something else entirely: an anime involving outer space bounty hunters.

      So it begs the question, which came first: Cowboy Bebop or Girl Genius?

      On third thought, perhaps something prior to both used those names in the past, and each independently took them on.

    2. Glen 1 Bronze badge

      Re: says

      I think you mean Othar Tryggvassen Gentleman Adventurer

      Have a pint

  7. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    That's the way to do it

    I'm surprised the Spanish are confused about Punch & Judy, don't they also have the tradition of "Guiñol", based on the French Guignol?

    Good luck on Saturday 5th. I'll be on a 747 heading into Heathrow around them, nothing personal but I do hope your "west of England" launch is well west...

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

      Re: That's the way to do it

      Yes, they do, but when I threw Richard and Judy into the mix, that was the end of it.

      The launch is very much well west, fret ye not.

      1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

        Re: That's the way to do it

        Somerset? You should be safe from igniting the landscape there.

  8. Elmer Phud

    Punch and Judy

    That's the way to do it!

    I bet LOHAN knows a bit about sausages

    (fnar fnar etc.)

  9. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    "Punch & Judy"?

    So many other Britishisms would have worked!:

    "Beans & Toast"

    "Will & Kate"

    "Scotch & Water"

    "Wallace & Gromit"

    "Charles & Di" (perhaps an unlucky name there)

    1. stu 4

      Re: "Punch & Judy"?

      eh ?

      Scotch and Water, and Richard

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