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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all,

Telecon tomorrow (Jan. 23 in North America, Jan. 24 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, noon Hawaii, 23.00 European, 9 am Eastern Australia). We've set up and have been testing out the new Raveon M8S data modems in the lab, and we've set up for more drop tests with a revised full spar frame (although bad weather has precluded doing drop testing itself over the past 2 weeks), new Hamamatsu and Thorlabs photodiodes are now here in Victoria and are to 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 - 2020-01-23

Hi all,

Apologies for the delay! -- here are minutes of our last telecon on Jan. 9 (with attendees Arnold Gertner [NRC] and me), a quick update on ALTAIR balloon work, and a reminder of the telecon in 15 minutes(!!!) from now:

We've been connecting up and testing out our two new 144 MHz Raveon M8S data modem transceivers here in Victoria:

Our first test (beyond just connecting the input voltage lines and turning them on, which of course was successful for both transceivers) is connecting them up to an RS232 connection, and then using Raveon's "Radio Manager" program to check that they are functioning. The radios have 3.3V UART output, so a level-shifting RS232 transceiver was needed to change their output to RS232 standard. We have that now and, as you can see in the picture above, we have successfully tested one of the two radios out with the Radio Manager software. For the other radio, I just need to modify its electrical connection so that we can test it out with Radio Manager as well, and I'll do that later this afternoon. After that test is hopefully successful, it will be time to connect the radios up to Arduino Megas, and get them talking to one another (and then also check out their effective ranges).

Using one of the old 1/4" diameter nylon spars (in addition to 3 of our newer 1/8" diameter fiberglass spars), I made a spar over the parafoil vents that will hopefully be a bit stiffer than one of the thin fiberglass spars that we have been using:

I will try another drop test with that as soon as possible, but the weather has just been awful over the past 2 weeks (snow and rain), so it is just waiting for a dry day to do a drop test.

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

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

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 15 minutes (!) from now (see below for Skype instructions).

Cheers, talk in 15 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
JPEGjpg ALTAIRParafoilWithModifiedFullSparFrame.JPG r1 manage 3112.5 K 2020-01-23 - 22:20 JustinAlbert A full frame of 3 fibreglass spars + 1 (thicker, heavier, and hopefully less bendy) nylon spar placed over the vents
JPEGjpg ALTAIRRaveonM8SDataModemsRadioManagerTesting.JPG r1 manage 2209.5 K 2020-01-23 - 22:23 JustinAlbert The two new 144 MHz Raveon M8S data modem transceivers wired up, with one being tested with the Raveon Radio Manager program that runs on a PC with RS232 connection
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Topic revision: r2 - 2020-01-23 - JustinAlbert
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