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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all!

Telecon tomorrow (Jan. 24 in North America, Jan. 25 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, noon Hawaii, 23.00 European, 9 am Eastern Australia). Lots of new updates on AIFCOMSS station-keeping prediction and simulation software, as well as on the one of the three new photodiode precision amplifier boards that is populated with components and is being tested in the UVic electronic shop. 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. I'll send an update with recent photos etc before the telecon tomorrow.

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 - 2019-01-23

Hi all!

My apologies for the delay! -- here's a reminder of our telecon in 10 minutes from now, plus a quick progress report on ALTAIR balloon work over the past 2 weeks:

I'm very pleased to report that Nick Braam in the phys & astro electronics shop here managed to resurrect the dead SHX1 144 MHz transceiver that had been in the payload, also thanks to some factory reset code for the SHX1 EEPROM that was finally (after 2 weeks of my pestering them!) sent to us by Radiometrix. So, now we have fully 4 working SHX1 boards (one of which will go back into the payload, one for each of the Capella and Deneb ground stations, and then one spare [that will be able to attach to the Betelgeuse test box when wanted]). A good photo of Nick's test and repair setup in the electronics shop for the SHX1 boards is at:

I'll now work on reinstalling the SHX1 board back into the payload, together with one of the new precision photodiode amplifier boards. The new RF shields arrived from the machine shop for our new precision photodiode amplifier boards, and one of those can be seen at (top view):

and (bottom view):

Andrew Macdonald continues to test the precision photodiode amplifier board that he has populated, and here is his test setup:

and he should be done testing, and be able to turn that board over to me (for my own bit of testing, and then installation into ALTAIR) next week. As a reminder, here's the schematic for these new precision photodiode amplifier boards (of which ALTAIR will ultimately contain 3, with two for the two photodiodes on the integrating sphere, and one for the photodiode on the diffusive LED light source):

I'm planning to pick up our 12 OSI Optoelectronics UV-015 photodiodes and 11 windowless Hamamatsu S2386-8K photodiodes from Chris Stubbs when I'll be (for a few hours) in the Boston region on Feb. 16.

I updated the flight path prediction in AIFCOMSS to use real-time values of atmospheric pressure and temperature at all latitudes, longitudes, and altitudes, in addition to just the real-time values of the winds -- rather than using a standard model atmosphere for atmospheric pressures and temperatures as functions of altitude. That is all updated, uploaded, and working now -- and as usual the decent test that it is properly working is that the flight path changes some with respect to the "model atmosphere pressures and temperatures" flight path prediction, but most definitely not enormously or ridiculously, so that's one good sign. I've also now split out the ALTAIR vanilla no-propulsion flight path prediction from what will be the full station-keeping, propulsion-including flight path prediction, in separate executables, either of which can be called by AIFCOMSS. As usual, the code is all in the pred_src directory of the AIFCOMSS Github repository:


and our corresponding ALTAIR onboard software, as always, is in:


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. I'll be moving this ALTAIR drop test setup to the backyard of the house I'm moving to in the Victoria area next week, so we can do drop tests with if in my backyard this spring.

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 * 10 minutes from now * (see below for Skype instructions).

Cheers, and talk to you in 10 minutes -- thanks all!!!!!


-- jalbert - 2019-01-24

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
JPEGjpg ALTAIRPrecisionPDAmpBoardShieldBottomPhoto.JPG r1 manage 1776.3 K 2019-01-24 - 19:32 JustinAlbert Bottom view of new RF shield for new precision photodiode amplifier board
JPEGjpg ALTAIRPrecisionPDAmpBoardShieldTopPhoto.JPG r1 manage 2203.2 K 2019-01-24 - 19:32 JustinAlbert Top view of new RF shield for new precision photodiode amplifier board
JPEGjpg ALTAIRPrecisionPDAmpBoardTestSetupPhoto.JPG r1 manage 2504.8 K 2019-01-24 - 19:34 JustinAlbert Test setup in UVic Phys&Astro electronics shop for new precision photodiode amplifier board
JPEGjpg ALTAIRSHX1EEPROMResurrectionTestSetupPhoto.JPG r1 manage 2496.7 K 2019-01-24 - 19:36 JustinAlbert Test setup in UVic Phys&Astro electronics shop which achieved the resurrection of the onboard SHX1 transceiver board (by reprogramming its EEPROM)
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Topic revision: r3 - 2019-01-24 - JustinAlbert
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