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WIN a RockBLOCK Mk2 Iridium sat comms unit

Thinking caps on for our LOHAN acronym challenge

Competition As promised earlier this week, today we're giving readers the chance to win an all-new RockBLOCK Mk2 Iridium satellite comms unit, courtesy of our chums at Rock Seven.

The RockBLOCK "allows you to send and receive short messages from anywhere on Earth with a clear view of the sky" via Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD), offering the possibility of easily integrating two-way communications into your tech project.

For example, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team uses one hooked up to a Arduino Mini Pro as part of the "Big Red Abort Switch To Release Aerial Payload" (BRASTRAP) doomsday system. If required, this set-up triggers an emergency balloon cut-down at the behest of a short message sent to the RockBLOCK from a ground station.

Cunning stuff, and if you'd like to put together something equally inventive, all you have to do is dust off the part of your brain dedicated to the time-honoured LOHAN tradition of preposterous acronyms/backronyms.

Last October, our US allies at Edge Research Laboratory sent an entire Vulture 2 spaceplane avionics package aloft to 27,700m, to see how the batteries and various bits and pieces would handle the cold.

The flight - cheekily dubbed "LESTER" (LOHAN Experiment: Stratospheric Test of Energy Reserves) by our American cousins - left a few unanswered questions, so we'll be doing one last jaunt to the stratosphere to check that all is genuinely well, and to give our 900MHz ultra long range radio rig a run for its money.

Well, you can see where this is going: we need a suitably snappy name for this final test mission, and the best reader suggestion will secure the RockBLOCK.

LOHAN regulars know the drill, but the uninitiated are invited to seek inspiration from "Special Project Electronic Altitude Release System" (SPEARS), "Rocketry Experimental High Altitude Barosimulator" (REHAB), and the "Pixhawk Avoidance of Nearby Tree System" (PANTS) algorithm.

Post your suggestion as a comment to this piece, or throw it over to me right here. The deadline if 5pm UK time next Friday (10 April). The only rule is that LOHAN team member Paul "Lord Shax" Shackleton is expressly forbidden from entering, and must spend an afternoon on the naughty step for suggesting our prize would make a nice addition to his already extensive electronic arsenal.

As is the local custom, we'll compile a short-list of the best suggestions and leave the final decision to a public vote.

The RockBLOCK Mk2

The lucky winner will be able to choose between the RockBLOCK Mk2 - with either the built-in antenna (seen above) or SMA connector to hook up their own external antenna - or the RockBLOCK+, in an IP68 enclosure.

Good stuff, now get to it...®

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator, sponsored by...

  • EXASOL logo
  • Pulse_Eight
  • SecQuest logo
  • Lucidica logo
  • NXT logo

...and with the invaluable support of...

  • Edge Research Laboratory logo
  • Space Graphic Solutions logo
  • 3D Robotics logo
  • 3T RPD logo
  • University of Southampton logo
  • Applied Vacuum Engineering logo
  • Escher Technologies
  • Flashpoint Fireworks logo
  • HAB Supplies logo
  • Rock 7 logo
  • Random Engineering logo

More from the lovely LOHAN:

  • You can find full LOHAN coverage right here.
  • If you're new to LOHAN, seek out our mission summary for enlightenment.
  • There are photos our our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane here, and detailed structural plans here.
  • For your further viewing pleasure, we have all our photographic material stored on Flickr.
  • Our LOHAN and Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) videos live on YouTube.
  • We sometimes indulge in light consensual tweeting, as you can see here.

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