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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all!

Telecon tomorrow (Oct. 18 in North America, Oct. 19 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, noon Hawaii, 23.00 European, 8 am Eastern Australia). Continued progress on the photodiode precision amplifier board construction, updates on station-keeping prediction and simulation software, on the pre- and post-flight cross-calibration integrating sphere, and on the windowless photodiode orders from Hamamatsu (now received) and OSI Optoelectronics -- I'll post a summary shortly! More discussion items for tomorrow's telecon 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 / 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, etc).

4) If there is any trouble, or if you don't get a Skype-call for some reason and would like to join, please 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 tests of the new gondola and payload

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

IV) Solid modelling

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

VI) Grant applications


Talk to you all tomorrow, thanks!!!


-- jalbert - 2018-10-17

Hi all!

Here's a quick progress report on ALTAIR balloon work done over the past two weeks, plus the minutes of our last telecon (attended by Arnold Gaertner (NRC) and me -- my apologies for the delay!), and a reminder of our telecon in 15 minutes -- please just reply with (or let me know) any corrections -- thanks! :

Andrew Macdonald in the UVic phys & astro electronics shop is still working on laying out and having our new precision photodiode amplifier board fabricated:

He plans to have a test board ready for us in a few weeks.

Our 11 windowless Hamamatsu S2386-8K photodiodes arrived at the Stubbs Lab at Harvard a couple weeks ago, and we've now just today received a quote for our UV-015 photodiodes from OSI Optoelectronics (as the secondary cross-check photodiode on the integrating sphere). (The "breakthrough" on finally getting a quote for the OSI UV-015 photodiodes was a suggestion yesterday [from visiting colloquium speaker Prof. Dave DeMille at Yale] that we could just get the standard, straight-from-the-catalog UV-015 photodiodes with windows from OSI, and use one of these tools:


to very carefully remove the window [along with the top of theTO-5 can] ourselves.) I'll carry our share of all those windowless photodiodes up to Canada at the end of the year.

As mentioned last time I've completed creating a proper object-oriented code structure for the ALTAIR main board firmware, which functions properly:

https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/ALTAIROnboardArduinoSoftware/tree/master/libraries https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/ALTAIROnboardArduinoSoftware

and added code to flexibly adjust and add to the telemetry information that ALTAIR sends down to the ground station(s) to AIFCOMSS running on the ground station control computer(s) -- and now I must just finish adding just a couple more hooks within AIFCOMSS to use and test that new code and new telemetered information.

I finally found a hardware bug that was causing the microSD card reader/writer (https://www.adafruit.com/product/254) onboard the payload to fail to initialize -- occasionally, in a non-reproducible way...: The current sensors (we use four Honeywell CSLT6B100's: https://sensing.honeywell.com/honeywell-sensing-cslt-series-product-sheet-005862-2-en.pdf ) on the propulsion axle were sending inductive pulses back down the 5 volt supply line, which was causing the problem. I've taken those CSLT6B100 current sensors off, and Andrew MacDonald is looking at them, to see if there is any way we could still use them (or similar miniature current sensors) without getting that problem (perhaps by isolating the voltage supply for those current sensors).

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 applications 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 15 minutes from now *, at our usual 5:00 pm Eastern time today.

Cheers, talk to you all in 15 minutes!!! -- thanks all!!!!!


-- jalbert - 2018-10-18

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
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