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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all,

Telecon tomorrow (Feb. 5 in North America, Feb. 6 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, noon Hawaii, 23.00 European, 9 am Eastern Australia). A very successful new drop test (with the modified full spar frame on the parafoil) and planning for further drop testing, more testing of the new Raveon M8S data modems in the lab, new Hamamatsu and Thorlabs photodiodes are here in Victoria and ready 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 - 2020-02-06

Hi all,

Apologies for the delay! -- here are minutes of our last telecon on Jan. 23 (with attendees Arnold Gaertner [NRC] and me), a quick update on ALTAIR balloon work, and a reminder of the telecon in 20 minutes(!!!) from now:

First I should mention, separate from (but closely related to!) ALTAIR -- a new and complementary technique to ALTAIR-based high-precision calibration -- which uses a mountaintop observatory-located laser to excite the atmospheric sodium layer (at an atomic sodium resonance that is different from the sodium resonance usually used by laser guide stars), and which would create a two-color "laser photometric ratio star" (LPRS) at wavelengths of 589 nm and 819 nm -- is described in a new paper by my colleagues and me, which now can be found on the arXiv at https://arxiv.org/abs/2001.10958 . It will be submitted to Astronomy & Astrophysics journal (as soon as we add Section 9 to the paper, which will contain the estimated impact on measurements of dark energy from SNeIa). Additionally, we have a second paper on this technique that will be made public soon, which describes another method to create a LPRS that would be about 20 times brighter than the one from the technique described in this first paper.

Now on to progress on ALTAIR itself: The weather cleared up for a day on Sunday, so I was able to do a drop test with the full spar frame, modified to replace the thin fiberglass spar near the parafoil vents with a nylon spar that is somewhat stiffer than the thin fiberglass spar. This drop test was very successful! -- and you can see it at:

So, I think the next thing to do is to: 1) Add some "belt loops" on the vent side of the parafoil (for that spar), and 2) Also, since this spar frame idea appears to be working well, add belt loops to a second parafoil (we have 3 parafoils, so this would add belt loops to a second). I will get those two things done at Nahid Tailoring (the place that sewed on the initial belt loops) here this coming week.

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

Since the first radio worked in its tests with the Radio Manager software, I modified the electrical connection of the second radio so that I could test it out with Radio Manager as well, and that worked excellently too. So, the next tests will be to connect the radios up to Arduino Megas, and get them talking to one another, and then I'll check out their effective ranges.

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

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


-- jalbert - 2020-02-20

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Quicktime moviemov ALTAIRDropTestWithModifiedFullSparFrame2Feb20.MOV r1 manage 2414.8 K 2020-02-06 - 06:18 JustinAlbert Drop test with a full frame of 3 fiberglass spars + 1 nylon spar (+ gusset plates to hold ends together) installed (Sun. Feb. 2, 2020)
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Topic revision: r2 - 2020-02-20 - JustinAlbert
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