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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all,

Telecon tomorrow (Nov. 21 in North America, Nov. 22 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, 11 am Hawaii, 23.00 European, 9 am Eastern Australia). Updates on the addition of spars to the parafoil for drop testing, on telemetry, on testing of the windowless Hamamatsu photodiodes with the new amplifier boards and new equipment received from Thorlabs, and on more progress 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 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 a progress report 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 - 2019-11-20

Hi all!

Apologies for the delay! -- here's a quick update on ALTAIR balloon work over the past 2 weeks, minutes of the telecon 2 weeks ago (attendees Arnold Gaertner [NRC] and me), and a reminder of the telecon in 30 minutes(!) from now:

As mentioned 2 weeks ago we had the idea to put flexible spars on the parafoil, to try to fix the issue with it only opening promptly following release a (not easily reproducible) fraction of the time, with the spars to be placed on the parafoil (using fabric "belt loops" and "end stops" to be sewn onto three of the four sides of the parafoil -- just not on the one side with the parafoil vents) placed as in this photo:

I had originally intended to do the (hand-)sewing of those fabric "belt loops" and "end stops" onto the parafoil myself, but once I started I saw that to hand-sew it, it would take 10 - 12 hours of hand sewing, and thus would need a sewing machine to do in a reasonable time. Thus (after asking around for people who had a sewing machine I could use, and not finding any), I took it to this tailor shop (who is doing it for $100): http://www.nahid-tailoring.com/home.html . They will have it ready by next Wednesday (the 27th). Then we can try it out in drop tests in my backyard (on a day when it isn't raining). If it works decently, then I'll get better spar material than the test rods above from https://www.mcmaster.com/8543k31 .

The two new 144 MHz RV-M8S radio modem boards from Raveon (https://www.raveon.com/m8s-oem-data-radio-modem) have arrived in New Hampshire, and I'll pick them up over xmas, and then test them out first thing in the new year.

Student Peter Ogilvie is still working with the new Thorlabs equipment (12 extra standard FDS-100 photodiodes [with windows; and we will see if we can cleanly take a couple of the windows off with our WR1 can opener that we got this summer], three new laser diodes [a 980 nm wavelength L980P200, an 840 nm wavelength L840P200, and an extra 660 nm L660P120 laser diode], and some new laser diode driver ICs [MLD203P1, MLD203P2, MLD203CLN, MLD203P1E, and MLD203CLNE]).

We're working on the New Frontiers for Research (NFRF) application that is due on Dec. 10. Other applications, such as CSA FAST and NSERC, have been submitted and are under review (with results on those expected in March or April of 2020).

I'm also working with a new undergraduate student on the actual station-keeping algorithm for AIFCOMSS. Presently the "station keeping" code in AIFCOMSS just turns on the propellers in the simulation at full power, and propels the gondola in a single direction until the battery runs out (it's presently most certainly not actual "station keeping"). I added some hooks for adding actual station keeping algorithms into the code, and we're developing the algorithms and will implement them.

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 the NFRF application mentioned above (due Dec. 10) and a NATO "Science for Peace and Security" application, the latter together with Australian colleague partners.

Our next telecon is in a half-hour (!) from now (see below for Skype instructions).

Cheers, talk in 30 minutes(!) from now -- thanks all!


-- jalbert - 2019-11-23

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
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