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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all!

Telecon tomorrow (Feb. 22 in North America, Feb. 23 in Australia) at the new regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, noon Hawaii, 23.00 European, 9 am Eastern Australia). Lots done in the past 2 weeks! -- I'll send a report this evening. Discussion items include: flight/telescope plans and tests; construction, drop testing, and other tests of the new gondolas/payloads; light sources and light source modelling; goniometric and pre- and post-flight calibration; propulsion work; nanosat bus and payload solid models; computing / website / the new TWiki forums and e-mails; grant applications; and recap of schedules.

Here's how to connect:

1) Open Skype on your computer (note that of course, you should first install Skype, http://www.skype.com , on your machine if you haven't already).

2) In the "Contacts" menu, add me ( jalbertuvic ) as a contact, if you haven't already.

3) Just wait for me to Skype-call you at the usual time (4 pm Eastern, 1 pm Pacific). 4) If there is any trouble, or if you don't get a Skype-call for some reason and would like to join, just send me an e-mail (jalbert@uvicNOSPAMPLEASE.ca).

Here's the tentative agenda:

I) Flight & telescope plans, and upcoming tests

II) Construction, drop tests, and other forms of tests of the new gondolas and payloads here in Victoria

III) Diffused light source, and its modelling, pre- and post-flight calibration, and goniometric calibrations

IV) Solid modelling

V) Computing/website, including new flight control and simulation progress.

VI) Grant applications


Talk to you all tomorrow, thanks!


-- jalbert - 2018-02-22

Hi all!

Here's the quick rundown of ALTAIR work done over the past 2 weeks -- my apologies for the delay! -- please just reply with (or let me know) any corrections -- thanks! :

We did a short-drop cutdown test while all 4 propulsion motors were fully-powered on Feb. 10. The 2 minute video of it can be found at:


The test was relatively successful: the payload survived well, and one of the sacrificial outer axle rods broke in the proper and expected place, however on the other side of the axle, the center axle cracked:


So, we took this as an opportunity to do a variety of needed repairs (in addition to, of course, the center axle): 1) There had been a light leak between the ALTAIR internal integrating sphere output port flare cone and the bottom foamboard surface of ALTAIR, and I fixed this by firmly mating the bottom foamboard surface to the flare cone using three nylon threaded rods between the bottom surface and the main acrylic structural support layer inside ALTAIR, and also adding "knee" support grommets to each of the legs:


which all now works well; 2) I added a non-slip connector for battery power to the I-driver current source board (instead of the simple header connector, that often slipped off), and an on-off power switch for power to the main board (which of course will always be "on" during flight, but gets turned off when one is uploading programming data to the main board via USB, since in that case the main board power is provided by USB):


and, of course, I also needed to: 3) Make a new center axle:

ALTAIRNewCenterAxle.jpg ALTAIRNewCenterAxleIntConnsAdded.jpg

with, this time, its ends strengthened with fibreglass fabric, epoxied around each end:

ALTAIRNewCenterAxleCompleted.jpg ALTAIRNewCenterAxleEndStrengthening.jpg

The fibreglass-epoxy strengthened ends are not the most beautiful things in the world, but I think they will do the job perfectly fine. (And if they ever do break, I think I have a better/prettier way of strengthening the ends in the future, using aluminum square tube and epoxy, rather than fibreglass and epoxy.) Now, we're ready to do another fully-propulsion-powered short drop test, and other stress testing, and long-range communication testing.

Students Alexy Decrooq and Kyle Jordan, as well as software expert Layth Holubeshen, have excellently completed getting the code that runs the balloon flight path predictor running inside of AIFCOMSS:

18.55-39312-IFCOMSSwithPredictor1.png 18.55-56749-IFCOMSSwithPredictor2.png

into better shape such that it is much easier to install, and they have also completed relatively easy and reproducible instructions on how to install it (on Windows and Linux platforms). We have now added those instructions as a README at https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/AIFCOMSSwithCUPredictorTest. The next task is for me to add MacOS instructions to those excellent Linux and Windows instructions, and then to work on updating and improving the flight prediction code itself -- and also, after that, see if we can successfully simulate some form of station-keeping over a region of land, using the actual wind forecasts and data from NOAA, and also reasonable values for drag, propulsive thrust, battery power (as well as some battery recharging with future lightweight solar panels), etc etc.

Machinist Chris Secord has finally finished, and powder-coated, the 12" diameter aluminum sphere that will function as our pre- and post-flight photometry cross-check device, and here's the result of his work:

ALTAIRPrePostFlightIntegratingSphereFullyMachined.jpg ALTAIRPrePostFlightIntegratingSpherePowderCoated.jpg

I then blackened the interior of the neck (and the interiors of each of the mini-necks for each of the four photodiode monitors):


It is now all ready for us to use our Avian-B paint to paint over the powder coat (Avian-B sticks far better over a powder coat than directly on aluminum, since Avian-B does not contain etch primer). The sphere should thus be coated and fully completed in the next couple of weeks!

Mark Lenckowski has completed the stabilized pole for the new 10-meter-high drop test setup at Victoria:

15.28-91194-MeterStabilizedPole_1.jpg 15.28-81425-MeterStabilizedPole_2.jpg

As you can see (faintly), he affixed side-struts and guy wire to the PVC pole, to prevent it from bending in either of the two transverse directions, so it can now be raised to vertical, from horizontal, without bending or breaking.

The survey-tripod-mounted device to cross-check yaw-pitch-roll information from the gondola (e.g., on days before/after flights) is constructed now, thanks to Mark Lenckowski -- photo at:


and all that remains to be done is to finish the small fitting between the device and the bottom of the payload. The purchased hardware in it includes both the survey tripod (http://www.cpotools.com/cst-berger-60-alwi20-o-aluminum-tripod-with-quick-release--orange-/cstn60-alwi20-o,default,pd.html), two adjustable angle mounts (http://www.thorlabs.com/thorproduct.cfm?partnumber=AP180), and a rotation mount (https://www.thorlabs.com/thorproduct.cfm?partnumber=RP01). That last fitting to attach (temporarily, pre- or post-flight) the upper adjustable angle mount to the payload landing gear has been started and will be completed here in the next couple weeks.

We're currently revising the draft initial contractual agreement from our colleagues at Globalstar Canada regarding 2 initial SPOT Trace devices (and their service plans) for the educational side-project for the upcoming NATO SPS application, in which classrooms in elementary and high schools could launch company-donated SPOT Traces using party balloons (or a more environmentally-friendly version thereof), and track them to learn more about winds at different levels in Earth's atmosphere. Another next step, software-wise, is to add a bunch of additional data information to the telemetry communication between ALTAIR-Victoria:


and the Capella ground station:


and to update the control and monitoring software to incorporate the telemetered info, and also implement onboard SD card data storage, as well as storage of the telemetered info.

Houman will send Cordell and/or us updated sections of his master's thesis soon -- that information will be extremely useful to us going forward. Also, Susana and Nathan, it would be very helpful for us all to get the JHU students' final writeup when you have a chance.

Our next grant application will be a NATO "Science for Peace and Security" application, together with Australian colleague partners.

That's all I remember, please send things that I forgot. Next telecon * in a few hours from now!!! *, at our new usual 5:00 pm Eastern time.

Cheers, talk to you all in a few hours!!!


-- jalbert - 2018-02-22

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
JPEGjpg ALTAIRCenterAxleCrack.jpg r1 manage 1699.6 K 2018-02-22 - 07:46 JustinAlbert ALTAIR crack at the end of the center axle, following the powered cutdown drop test
JPEGjpg ALTAIRLightLeakISBottomFixed.jpg r1 manage 1719.7 K 2018-02-22 - 07:48 JustinAlbert ALTAIR fix of the light leak between the integrating sphere and the bottom surface
JPEGjpg ALTAIRMainBoardPowerOnOffSwitch.jpg r1 manage 2073.4 K 2018-02-22 - 07:51 JustinAlbert ALTAIR addition of an on-off switch for power to the main board (which can be turned off when main board power is supplied from USB input)
JPEGjpg ALTAIRNewCenterAxle.jpg r1 manage 2786.9 K 2018-02-22 - 07:52 JustinAlbert ALTAIR new center axle (to replace cracked one)
JPEGjpg ALTAIRNewCenterAxleCompleted.jpg r1 manage 2336.1 K 2018-02-22 - 07:54 JustinAlbert ALTAIR new center axle, completed (all connectors added, and ends strengthened)
JPEGjpg ALTAIRNewCenterAxleEndStrengthening.jpg r1 manage 2146.2 K 2018-02-22 - 07:56 JustinAlbert ALTAIR closeup of epoxy-and-fiberglass-fabric-strengthened end of new center axle
JPEGjpg ALTAIRNewCenterAxleIntConnsAdded.jpg r1 manage 2514.7 K 2018-02-22 - 07:53 JustinAlbert ALTAIR new center axle, with interior connectors added
Quicktime moviemov ALTAIRPoweredCutdownVideo.MOV r1 manage 11825.3 K 2018-02-22 - 07:43 JustinAlbert ALTAIR powered cutdown video
JPEGjpg ALTAIRPrePostFlightIntegratingSphereNeckBlackened.jpg r1 manage 1939.8 K 2018-02-22 - 07:57 JustinAlbert ALTAIR pre- and post-flight calibration integrating sphere, with blackened neck (and top outer surface)
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Topic revision: r3 - 2018-02-22 - JustinAlbert
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