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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all,

Telecon tomorrow (Aug. 1 in North America, Aug. 2 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, 11 am Hawaii, 23.00 European, 7 am Eastern Australia). Updates on testing of the OSI and Hamamatsu photodiodes with the new amplifier boards, and some progress on the absolutely fascinating local legal aspects of having a drop testing pole in my backyard, and on 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 some 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 - 2019-08-01

Hi all!

Apologies for the delay! -- here's a quick update on ALTAIR balloon work over the past 2 weeks, minutes of the meeting 2 weeks ago (attendees Arnold Gaertner [NRC] and me), and a reminder of the telecon in 20 minutes(!) from now:

Students Peter Ogilvie, Afif Omar, and Zejia Xu have now managed to reproduce, using the precision photodiode amplifier boards and the OSI UV-015 and Thorlabs FDS100 photodiodes, a couple of Andrew Macdonald's plots that he made in the electronics shop and showed a few meetings ago:


Here are their plots, with Andrew's corresponding ones:

corresponding to:


corresponding to:

They appear similar enough, and also show that worrying nonlinearity, at high optical power, of the OSI UV-015 photodiode. We thus may need to look for alternatives to the OSI UV-015 -- maybe perhaps windowless Hamamatsu S12698-01 photodiodes might do the trick (I'll get a quote on those). In any case, the students' next step is to make similar plots for the windowless Hamamatsu S2386-8K photodiodes within the clean room, which they will hopefully accomplish this coming week, and then additionally test the OSI UV-015 photodiodes that have been made windowless by knocking out their windows. Right after that, I can install the precision photodiode amplifier boards into ALTAIR.

We've made a bunch of updates and bug-fixes (mostly bug fixes to fix crash-causing problems on Windows that don't occur on Macs) to AIFCOMSS flight path prediction, tested them, and uploaded them to the Github repository https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/AIFCOMSSwithCUPredictorTest (and made little updates/improvements to the README there).

We've also worked with lawyers on a notification to the local municipality (Saanich, the Victoria suburb in which both my backyard and half of the UVic campus are located) regarding outdoor drop testing in my backyard, which has been bureaucratically held up because of the local height restriction bylaw issues mentioned in the last minutes ( https://wiki.heprc.uvic.ca/twiki/bin/view/Forum/ForumGeneral0032 ) but we are hoping that this notification to Saanich (note that my auto-correct corrects "Saanich" to "Stench") will finally resolve that.

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

Our next telecon is in 20 minutes(!) from now (see below for Skype instructions).

Cheers, talk in 20 minutes from now! -- thanks all!


-- jalbert - 2019-08-01

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
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