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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all!

Telecon tomorrow (Dec. 13 in North America, Dec. 14 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, noon Hawaii, 23.00 European, 8 am Eastern Australia). Photodiode precision amplifier boards have arrived (photos at and ), updates on station-keeping prediction and simulation software, on the pre- and post-flight cross-calibration integrating sphere, and on the windowless photodiodes we've received from Hamamatsu 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 - 2018-12-12

Hi all!

Here are minutes on the telecon 2 weeks ago (attendees Arnold Gaertner [NRC] & me) plus a quick progress report on ALTAIR balloon work done over the past three weeks plus a reminder of our telecon in one hour -- please just reply with (or let me know) any corrections -- thanks! :

The new precision photodiode amplifier boards have now arrived in Victoria, and they will be fully populated with components (as well as their custom RF noise shields which are presently being fabricated in the machine shop) when Andrew Macdonald returns from vacation after the holidays. Here are the top and bottom photographs of the boards:

which correspond well to the pre-fabrication rendered drawings of the top and bottom views:

The RF shields are presently being fabricated in the machine shop here (thus we should have photos of those soon):

and, of course, the corresponding schematic of the board electronics:

All of our 12 OSI Optoelectronics UV-015 photodiodes and 11 windowless Hamamatsu S2386-8K photodiodes have arrived at the Stubbs lab, and I'll pick all of ours up the next time I'm in New England (likely in February).

AIFCOMSS software is actively monitoring and controlling ALTAIR directly via the Capella ground station, as can be seen in the following photos:


with all the (many many thousands of lines of) associated software, of course, in:

https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/ALTAIROnboardArduinoSoftware and https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/AIFCOMSSwithCUPredictorTest

We're now sending down the full list of data (including orientation and acceleration info), and have added the ability to switch to (as well as back from): 1) the backup GPS receiver, 2) the backup orientation/acceleration sensors, 3) the backup RFM23BP radio; but I still need to fix: a) The ground station SHX144 (also a backup) radio is presently not working, so a pair of additional ones of those should be arriving in Victoria before xmas, and b) I still need to properly output info such as RSSI and dropped packet percentage.

For both future ALTAIR updates, and also for our ORCASat CubeSat, Integrated Optics (https://integratedoptics.com) in Lithuania is now making "Matchbox" multi-wavelength laser diode modules, such as https://integratedoptics.com/wavelength-combiners/matchbox-diode-laser-combiner;-mm-fiber-405nm-445nm-520nm-638nm , that are much more compact and lightweight than our present laser diode modules from World Star Tech, e.g. http://www.worldstartech.com/products/temperature-controlled-lasers/tec-red-laser/ . We're presently talking with Integrated Optics regarding a quotation for an optimal "Matchbox" multi-wavelength laser diode module for us.

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.

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.

Our next telecon is in one hour from now (5 pm Eastern, 2 pm Pacific), with Skype connection info copied in the e-mail below.

Cheers, talk to you all in an hour! -- thanks all!!!!!


-- jalbert - 2018-12-13

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
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JPEGjpg ALTAIRPDAmpBoardsPhotoBottomView.jpg r1 manage 2369.8 K 2018-12-12 - 20:44 JustinAlbert Photodiode amplifier boards bottom view photograph
JPEGjpg ALTAIRPDAmpBoardsPhotoTopView.jpg r1 manage 2912.2 K 2018-12-12 - 20:44 JustinAlbert Photodiode amplifier boards top view photograph
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