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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all,

Happy New Year! -- and we'll have our first telecon of 2020 tomorrow (Jan. 9 in North America, Jan. 10 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, noon Hawaii, 23.00 European, 9 am Eastern Australia). New drop tests this week with a full spar frame on the parafoil, new Raveon M8S data modems are now here in Victoria and being tested, new Hamamatsu and Thorlabs photodiodes are now here in Victoria and will be tested, and 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 - 2020-01-08

Hi all,

Apologies for the delay! -- here's a quick update on ALTAIR balloon work since the last progress report on Dec. 19, and a reminder of the telecon in 10 minutes(!!!) from now:

I made the four little plastic gussets to hold the ends of the spars on the spar frame to mount on the parafoil, and installed them at the very end of December -- here's a photo:

and I did a drop test yesterday (Wed. Jan. 8) with that full spar frame -- here's the video:

As you can see above, another interesting result -- not perfect but interesting. It appears like the spar above the vents perhaps could use being a bit stiffer... Perhaps I'll attempt replacing that 1/8" diam fiberglass spar with a 1/4" diam lightweight aluminum tube, and try another drop test with that. Assuming we don't have any 10' long 1/4" diam thin-wall aluminum tubes downstairs in our machine shop, I'll get one from the local Metal Supermarket: https://www.metalsupermarkets.com/metals/aluminum/aluminum-6061-round-tube/ and try it out, hopefully by next week (weather permitting).

We now have our two 144 MHz Raveon M8S data modem transceivers here in Victoria:

I just got the connectors needed to make electrical connections to those data modems from Digi-Key, and so I'll try them out (connected to two Arduino Megas) this weekend or next week.

We also just got our 10 Hamamatsu S12698-01 photodiodes and 3 Thorlabs FDS100-NOCAN photodiodes (those Thorlabs ones have their windows removed) back here in Victoria:

I've given them to Evan (new engineering student) to try out -- he'll likely take a few weeks to ramp up, and then will produce some linearity, etc., plots from them.

I'm also working with another 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 application will be a NATO "Science for Peace and Security" application (together with Australian colleague partners).

Our next telecon is in 10 minutes (!) from now (see below for Skype instructions).

Cheers, talk in 10 minutes(!!!) from now -- thanks all!


-- jalbert - 2020-01-23

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Quicktime moviemov ALTAIRDropTestWithFullSparFrame8Jan20.MOV r1 manage 4245.9 K 2020-01-09 - 02:52 JustinAlbert First drop test with a full frame of 4 real fiberglass spars (+ gusset plates to hold ends together) installed (Wed. Jan. 8, 2020)
JPEGjpg ALTAIRParafoilWithFullSparFrameIncGussets.JPG r1 manage 1947.6 K 2020-01-09 - 02:54 JustinAlbert Full fiberglass spar frame installed with plastic gusset plates onto the parafoil
JPEGjpg ALTAIRRaveonM8SDataModemDetail.JPG r1 manage 2230.8 K 2020-01-09 - 02:56 JustinAlbert Close-up photo of one of the new 144 MHz Raveon M8S data modem transceivers
JPEGjpg ALTAIRRaveonM8SDataModems.JPG r1 manage 2331.6 K 2020-01-09 - 02:55 JustinAlbert Two new 144 MHz Raveon M8S data modem transceivers, back here in Victoria
JPEGjpg PhotodiodesHamamatsuS12698-01AndThorlabsFDS100-NOCAN.JPG r1 manage 2172.2 K 2020-01-09 - 02:58 JustinAlbert Ten new Hamamatsu S12698 photodiodes, and three new Thorlabs FDS100-NOCAN photodiodes
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Topic revision: r3 - 2020-01-23 - JustinAlbert
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