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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all!

Telecon tomorrow (Mar. 22 in North America, Mar. 23 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, noon Hawaii, 22.00 European, 8 am Eastern Australia). Lots more done in the past 2 weeks! -- I'll send a report tonight. 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 (5 pm Eastern, 2 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 VII) AOB

Talk to you all tomorrow, thanks!


-- jalbert - 2018-03-22

Hi all!

Here's the minutes of our last telecon (attended by Arnold Gaertner (NRC) and me) and 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! :

After doing the successful cutdown test with the revised cutdown string arrangement on Mar. 10 (described in the last minutes), I've been focusing mainly on software -- specifically AIFCOMSS flight path prediction on Windows, and doing some debugging on that -- and also on grant applications.

Specifically, I've been working on testing/debugging/improving the work that students Alexy Decrooq and Kyle Jordan, as well as software expert Layth Holubeshen, did on the code that runs the balloon flight path predictor running inside of AIFCOMSS:

on Windows (specifically on my own Windows desktop), and updating/fixing our README at https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/AIFCOMSSwithCUPredictorTest. The next task is for me to add MacOS instructions (specifically utilizing my own Mac laptop) to those 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:

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:

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 * NOW !!! *, at our new usual 5:00 pm Eastern time.

Cheers, talk to you all now!!!


-- jalbert - 2018-03-22

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
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