The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is delighted to announce our audacious ballocket mission now has a top-flight rocketeer on board to handle the power plant for our Vulture 2 spaceplane.
So, ladies and gentlemen, raise your glasses to welcome Paul Shackleton, who answered our call for someone with the Right Stuff and a Level 2 rocketry certificate, willing and able to take LOHAN to dizzying heights.
London-based Paul, 47, works as an IT support geek for McArdle Ltd, a role that enables him to act as "Bank of Dad" to two kids, Josh and Harry.
Having "always been a techie type, played with electronics, and a pyro while at school", Paul got into rocketry about 15 years ago, "starting with the small Estes kits, progressing through the range until the 'big boys' toys caught my eye", he told us.
He continued: "My Level 1 cert was with a homebuild using two Aerotech H238Ts, and eventually getting my Level 2 cert with a Hypertek Hybrid J class, in a scratch built two-stage rocket.
"I joined the East Anglian Rocketry Society, and high-power sport rocketry was my mainstay hobby for loads of years. I was a committee member for two years, helping to organise the annual 'Big EARS' event, and trying to cadge freebies for the club raffle."
Laying out his electronics credentials, Paul said he "designed, built and sold the TRAXA radio beacons* for several years, and there must be about 400 of them in circulation, from the USA to Oz".
He also designed the TRAXAlt flight computer, "but never got round to selling it on a commercial basis due to lack of time and money for CE approval. God damn you, Brussels!"
When he's not earning a crust, Paul splits his free time between "geocaching, 4x4 green laning in my Defender, trying to build a L3 rocket, Ham Radio (callsign G7ALW) and watching the occasional episode of The Big Bang Theory".
He ruefully concluded: "There are not enough free hours in the week to pursue all that I want to."
Well, we're delighted that Paul has agreed to take time from his busy schedule to support the British space programme. We look forward to meeting him in person in due course as we advance inexorably towards to the stratosphere.
Many thanks to the other rocketeers who got in touch to offer their support, and if it's possible, we'll invite you all for a pint or two at an opportune moment. ®
* Based on the Radiometrix TX2 RF module. More here.
Further LOHAN resources:
- New to LOHAN? Try this mission summary for enlightenment.
- You can find full LOHAN coverage right here.
- Join the expert LOHAN debate down at Reg forums.
- All the LOHAN and Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) vids live on YouTube.
- For our SPB photo archive, proceed directly to Flickr.
- We sometimes indulge in light consensual tweeting, as you can see here.