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British Newspaper Building Low Orbit Flyer with Additive Manufacturing

Modern advertising has gotten kind of extreme. It used to be that businesses just put up a couple billboards, ran ads in magazines and newspapers, and went for a couple radio or TV spots. Now we have pop-ups, people paid to get logo tattoos, and viral marketing. Sometimes the stunts pay off, sometimes they don’t.

British newspaper The Register has a new advertising scheme meant to appeal to its science-minded demographic. The paper plans to construct and launch a low orbit flyer, using its readers as a sort of crowd source for development, and additive manufacturing (AM) to build the flyer. 

The University of Southampton's SULSA 3D printed drone was the inspiration for LOHAN. Courtesy of the University of Southampton.

The project is called Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator, or LOHAN, and is the second time The Register has constructed a low orbit flyer simply for the amusement of its readers (the first project was dubbed SPEARS). The paper was apparently inspired by the successful flight of the University of Southampton’s SULSA 3D printed drone, and turned to AM for its second project.

The plan is to launch LOHAN via helium balloon into near Earth orbit. The flyer’s rocket will kick in when it disconnects from the balloon, and it will direct itself back home using GPS location and an autopilot program. The Register also plans to include a few cameras in the design, giving its readers a chance to follow the flight through the medium of video.

LOHAN is currently undergoing rapid prototyping on an EOS P730 to determine if the wings are shaped properly. From there the paper should go on to prototype the complete design of the flyer, before the entire thing is printed out and sent into the skies.

You can follow the project here. Below you’ll find a video about selective laser sintering and LOHAN.

Source: The Register  

About John Newman

John Newman is a freelance writer in Northeast Ohio.

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