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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all,

Telecon tomorrow (May 2 in North America, May 3 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, 11 am Hawaii, 23.00 European, 7 am Eastern Australia). More progress on the new pole base setup for outdoor drop testing, and on the new photodiode precision amplifier boards; plus lots more new updates on AIFCOMSS station-keeping prediction/simulation software. 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 a bunch of 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 - 2019-05-01

Hi all!

Apologies for the delay! -- here's the quick progress report on ALTAIR balloon work over the past 2 weeks:

The power supply daughtercards that Andrew Macdonald in the UVic phys & astro electronics shop made to solve the power supply noise issues on the precision photodiode amplifier board are working well, and Andrew is completing his testing of the boards -- here's a board with its daughtercard installed and its shield off.

I should be able to install all 3 of those boards into ALTAIR next week. We'll also fabricate more of those boards for use with the photodiodes on the pre- and post-flight testing integrating sphere. (And, in regard to those photodiodes for that sphere -- as mentioned last time the OSI UV-015 PD's fit nicely into the sphere with the Thorlabs mounts:

and I've just ordered a set of additional mounts: https://www.thorlabs.com/thorproduct.cfm?partnumber=SM1AD14 to fit the [larger] Hamamatsu S2386-8K PDs.)

Separate progress on preparing for outdoor drop testing this summer: I'm making a base for the drop testing pole, out of a bunch of lumber:

You can see one semi-completed strut for the base in the foreground of the above photo. Here's a 2x4 being measured for the base, in the location that the base will go:

The drop testing pole itself will go out the window on the right-hand side of the above photo, and its far end will hold ALTAIR and its parafoil over my backyard, onto which it will drop. All fence posts (and the clothesline) have now been removed from my backyard, and it is ready for drop testing:

You can see some of the drop testing poles in the foreground of the above photos. 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.

Next grant applications will be a NATO "Science for Peace and Security" application, together with Australian colleague partners.

Next telecon is in 2 weeks from now, on Thurs. May 16.

Cheers, talk then -- thanks all!


-- jalbert - 2019-05-02

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
JPEGjpg ALTAIRBackyardReadyForDropTesting2May2019_1.JPG r1 manage 4990.8 K 2019-05-02 - 22:37 JustinAlbert Backyard with both chain link fence and clothesline completely removed, and ready for drop testing. (Pole pipes are in the foreground.)
JPEGjpg ALTAIRBackyardReadyForDropTesting2May2019_2.JPG r1 manage 4167.4 K 2019-05-02 - 22:38 JustinAlbert Backyard with both chain link fence and clothesline completely removed, and ready for drop testing. (Pole pipes are in the foreground.)
JPEGjpg ALTAIRDropTestingPoleBaseMeasuringStrut1May2019.JPG r1 manage 1730.4 K 2019-05-02 - 22:35 JustinAlbert Measuring a wood strut for the outdoor drop testing indoor pole base (the pole will go out the window on the RHS of the photo)
JPEGjpg ALTAIRDropTestingPoleBaseWoodAndStrut1May2019.JPG r1 manage 1834.3 K 2019-05-02 - 22:36 JustinAlbert Raw wood 2x4's (and one semi-completed pole base strut) for the drop testing pole base
JPEGjpg ALTAIRPrecisionPDAmpBoardFinalTestingWithDCardPhoto1May2019.JPG r1 manage 1641.0 K 2019-05-02 - 22:34 JustinAlbert Precision photodiode amplifier board (with shield removed, and daughtercard installed) in the process of final testing
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Topic revision: r2 - 2019-05-02 - JustinAlbert
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