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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all,

Telecon tomorrow (May 30 in North America, May 31 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, 11 am Hawaii, 23.00 European, 7 am Eastern Australia). Yesterday Mark Lenckowski, students Afif Omar and Logan MacKay, and I made a valiant attempt to raise the outdoor drop testing pole up and into the pole base inside the second floor window -- a good photo at:

but we then unfortunately had to lower it back down because of rigging issues, which we're fixing now. Andrew Macdonald has completed much more testing of the new photodiode amplifier boards with different photodiodes, and 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 more 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 - 2019-05-29

Hi all!

Apologies for the delay! -- here's a quick update on ALTAIR balloon work over the past 2 weeks, plus a reminder of the telecon in 2 hours from now:

As mentioned yesterday, two days ago we (students Logan MacKay and Afif Omar, and Mark Lenckowski and I) attempted to lift the drop testing pole up and into its base. We had a number of rigging issues: at first the wire-rope side-stays kept coming loose, but once we fixed that problem, and then raised the pole, we realized that Mark had accidentally tied the pulley rope into the stays:

and in order to fix that, we had to lower the pole back down again. We then fixed the pulley rope after the pole was lowered, but during the next raise-up, the bottom of the pole was moved, and that caused the pole to collapse during that second raise-up. Nothing broke (the pole just fell and separated out into its sections), but we realized that we need to do this process in a better, simpler, stronger, and more reproducible way. So this weekend I'll need to remake the pole base into two large sawhorses and a new pole base; I've gotten some turnbuckles for the stays and some other new supplies from Home Depot, and so we'll attempt to raise it up again (and then finally be able to do outdoor drop testing, first with a dummy payload and then with the real one) next week.

Andrew Macdonald in the phys & astro electronics shop here is working still on testing the new precision photodiode amplifier boards with different photodiodes -- here's his present setup:

His most critical next step will be to test the OSI PDs both before and after I manually remove their windows (see the minutes from Apr. 18 for a discussion of how I do that: https://wiki.heprc.uvic.ca/twiki/bin/view/Forum/ForumGeneral0026 ), in order to ensure that my watchmaker's-hammer-plus-awl method of knocking out the windows does not impact the photodiode performance (other than the tiny performance change that can be expected from just the removal of the reflection/absorption from the window itself). (If it does impact their performance, then we'll need to ask OSI again if they might be able to supply us with windowless photodiodes, but I'm hopeful that we can avoid that particular bureaucratic misery.) The other thing that he'll test is the difference in performance between our OSI photodiodes (model UV-015), the Hamamatsu photodiodes (S2386-8K, and we also have some older and larger S2281's), Thorlabs FDS100 photodiodes, and FirstSensor PC1-6 (First Sensor has replaced this model with their larger-active-area PC10-6 model, and no longer sells the PC1-6 except by special order) photodiodes. Then, we'll install the three boards into ALTAIR (and also make a couple more of the boards for the pre-and-post-flight cross-check integrating sphere and its photodiodes).

Summer students Afif and Logan, previously mentioned above in the drop testing pole raising info, are also working on AIFCOMSS flight path prediction at present.

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.

Our next telecon is in 2 hours from now (see below for Skype instructions).

Cheers, talk in two hours! -- thanks all!


-- jalbert - 2019-05-30

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
JPEGjpg ALTAIRDropTestingPoleRaised28May2019.JPG r1 manage 2097.1 K 2019-05-29 - 20:14 JustinAlbert ALTAIR drop testing pole raised (unfortunately temporarily) on 28 May 2019 (we lowered it afterwards due to rigging issues)
JPEGjpg ALTAIRPrecisionPDAmpBoardsPhoto29May2019.JPG r1 manage 2467.8 K 2019-05-30 - 19:15 JustinAlbert Precision photodiode amplifier boards (with shields and daughtercards on) in the process of photodiode testing
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Topic revision: r3 - 2019-05-30 - JustinAlbert
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