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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all!

Telecon tomorrow (Feb. 21 in North America, Feb. 22 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, noon Hawaii, 23.00 European, 9 am Eastern Australia). The 3 new photodiode precision amplifier boards are now completed and are currently being tested -- new photos in the upcoming minutes; more new updates on AIFCOMSS station-keeping prediction/simulation software; and also we're readying for outdoor drop testing this spring (in my new backyard!). More discussion items for tomorrow's telecon include: flight/telescope plans and tests; construction and lab tests of the new gondola/payload; 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 photos from the last few days, 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 - 2019-02-20

Hi all!

Apologies for the delay! -- here's a reminder of our telecon in 2 hours from now, plus a quick progress report on ALTAIR balloon work over the past 2 weeks + meeting minutes of our telecon 2 weeks ago (attendees Arnold Gaerner [NRC] & me):

I was on a brief trip to Toronto, Quebec City, Hanover NH, Boston, and Fredericton last week, and when in Boston I picked up the Hamamatsu and OSI Optoelectronics photodiodes from Chris Stubbs. Those photodiodes are presently on a UPS truck from Fredericton NB to Victoria (they just passed Montreal last night), and are supposed to arrive here on Wednesday next week. In Hanover I picked up some Thorlabs equipment that I had purchased, including equipment (specifically a MLDEVAL eval board for laser diode drivers https://www.thorlabs.com/thorproduct.cfm?partnumber=MLDEVAL , a MLD203P2E laser diode driver IC on a daughterboard https://www.thorlabs.com/thorproduct.cfm?partnumber=MLD203P2E , and a L660P120 laser diode https://www.thorlabs.com/thorproduct.cfm?partnumber=L660P120 ) for testing direct control of a bare laser diode (for possible future use in ALTAIR and/or ORCASat, since it can save a lot of space):

and equipment (specifically a KCB05/M right angle mirror mount https://www.thorlabs.com/thorproduct.cfm?partnumber=KCB05/M , and a PF05-03-P01 silver-coated 0.5" diam mirror https://www.thorlabs.com/thorproduct.cfm?partnumber=PF05-03-P01 ) for testing use of free-space laser(s), rather than fiber-coupled one(s) (which could also save space due to fiber minimum bend radius issues):

and additionally a couple of GPS repeaters ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DV4X9YH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ) for obtaining a GPS signal when indoors:

which I am quite eager to test out here in my office:

by tomorrow. (All of that equipment came back with me in my carry-on.)

Andrew Macdonald in the UVic phys & astro electronics shop has completed fully populating, and is still working on testing, the three new precision photodiode amplifier boards -- here's all 3 of them on his desk:

He's aiming to have them ready to hand over to me for my own testing and installation in ALTAIR next week.

Another ongoing task of mine is to prepare the backyard of the new house to which I just moved for outdoor drop testing this spring. Here is a diagram (overlayed on a photo) of how drop testing will be set up there (the clothes-drying line, crossed out in red, will be removed):

and the opposite view (the small chain-link fence, crossed out in red, will also be removed):

and an indoor view -- the base of the drop-testing pole will be fixed on the floor (inside the window) by a pole-base-holder which I will make from some lumber:

and this outdoor drop testing setup will, of course, use the 10-meter stabilized pole that Mark Lenckowski made a while ago:

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 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 also 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 2 hours from now (see below for Skype instructions).

Cheers, and talk to you in 2 hours! -- thanks all!!!!!


-- jalbert - 2019-02-21

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
JPEGjpg ALTAIRGPSRepeatersPhoto21Feb2019.jpg r1 manage 1991.2 K 2019-02-21 - 20:38 JustinAlbert Two new GPS repeaters (Cheyoule model# ANT-1573 purchased through Amazon) for obtaining a GPS signal when testing indoors
JPEGjpg ALTAIRPrecisionPDAmpBoardsPhoto20Feb2019.JPG r1 manage 2321.7 K 2019-02-21 - 01:50 JustinAlbert New precision photodiode amplifier boards, in UVic Phys&Astro electronics shop test setup
JPEGjpg ThorlabsFreeSpaceLaserMirrorTestEquipment.JPG r1 manage 2010.2 K 2019-02-21 - 01:54 JustinAlbert Optics from Thorlabs for testing a mirror mount to use with a free-space laser (avoiding an optical fiber)
JPEGjpg ThorlabsL660P120LaserDiodeTestEquipment.JPG r1 manage 2113.4 K 2019-02-21 - 01:52 JustinAlbert Electronics from Thorlabs for testing the control of a bare laser diode (a Thorlabs L660P120, included)
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Topic revision: r3 - 2019-02-21 - JustinAlbert
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