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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all,

Telecon tomorrow (Aug. 20 in North America, Aug. 21 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, 11 am Hawaii, 23.00 European, 7 am Eastern Australia). Our boards for our further-improved (lower noise) transimpedance amplifier board (the ORCASat version of the board) for the photodiodes are now at the fabrication plant (we'll get them this Friday), and we also now have the components here for 3 copies of the board. We also have recent updates on AIFCOMSS, and on the 144 MHz transceivers (Raveon and Radiometrix). 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 - 2020-08-19

Hi all,

Apologies for the delay! -- here's an update on recent ALTAIR balloon work, minutes of the meeting two weeks ago (attendees Arnold Gaertner [NRC], Liviu Ivanescu [Sherbrooke], and me), and a reminder of the telecon in 20 minutes(!) from now:

Our new lower-noise transimpedance amplifier boards have now been fabricated, and we'll be receiving them back from the fabricator tomorrow. Here's the final version of the schematic and renderings:

We also now have all the components for the boards here:

and Evan will solder them onto the boards and test them out next week. I've handed Evan's schematic and Gerber files to Andrew Macdonald so that he can make an ALTAIR version of this ORCASat board (with additional low-gain settings and a slightly different form factor), and Andrew will start to work on that very soon. Evan is now also working on the layout of the little cut-out boards for the photodiode front-end modules.

The Python 3.8 version of the code and instructions is added to the AIFCOMSS Github site: https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/AIFCOMSSwithCUPredictorTest , and students Dhwani Sutariya and Helio Huet are now working on station-keeping algorithms for AIFCOMSS.

Radiometrix still has our four SHX1-144 transceiver modules (they arrived there on Apr. 6) and is doing their firmware update that solves the BUSY output issue. They'll then test them out and send them back to us. Due to the COVID-19 situation in the UK, they've been taking quite a while. Very fortunately, the COVID situation is slowly starting to improve in the UK (although everyone is of course very wary of a likely second wave). I asked them about the status a few weeks ago (at that time they said they'll get it done "next week"), and so I'll ping them about the status again next 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:

After checking them out with Raveon's Windows-based Radio Manager software, I've started to connect the radios up to Arduino Megas -- in the next few weeks I'm planning to get them talking to one another, and then I'll check out their effective ranges.

Once we get those 144 MHz transceivers settled and back into the ALTAIR gondola, we'll do some outdoor drop testing of the actual gondola. (We've done all the outdoor drop tests I can think of doing with our dummy gondola.)

And we also still need to test out our new DFRobot SEN0177 payload aerosol monitors that we have here:

Engineering students Josh Gage and Evan Moore found that the "wings" that Josh had found in the laser diode light output distributions:

were due to how the diode was mounted in the heat sink. When the diode is mounted properly and carefully, the wings go away.

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 to try out -- he's taking a few weeks to ramp up, and will produce some linearity, etc., plots from them soon.

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 mins (!) from now -- thanks all!


-- jalbert - 2020-08-20

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
PDFpdf DigiKey_INVOICE_75384199_14aug20.pdf r1 manage 153.3 K 2020-08-20 - 04:40 JustinAlbert Digi-Key order of (the other half of) the components for 3 of the boards
PNGpng EvanMooreTIARevA5back_of_board.PNG r1 manage 225.3 K 2020-08-20 - 04:21 JustinAlbert Bottom view rendering of the new transimpedance amplifier board (for the photodiodes -- ORCASat schematic version Rev. A.5)
PNGpng EvanMooreTIARevA5board1.png r1 manage 376.0 K 2020-08-20 - 04:17 JustinAlbert Overhead view rendering of the new transimpedance amplifier board (for the photodiodes -- ORCASat schematic version Rev. A.5)
PNGpng EvanMooreTIARevA5board2.png r1 manage 227.6 K 2020-08-20 - 04:19 JustinAlbert Side-overhead view #1 rendering of the new transimpedance amplifier board (for the photodiodes -- ORCASat schematic version Rev. A.5)
PNGpng EvanMooreTIARevA5board3.png r1 manage 382.6 K 2020-08-20 - 04:20 JustinAlbert Side-overhead view #2 rendering of the new transimpedance amplifier board (for the photodiodes -- ORCASat schematic version Rev. A.5)
PNGpng EvanMooreTIARevA5board4.png r1 manage 246.7 K 2020-08-20 - 04:20 JustinAlbert Side-overhead view #3 rendering of the new transimpedance amplifier board (for the photodiodes -- ORCASat schematic version Rev. A.5)
PDFpdf MOUSER_Receipt_57900718.pdf r1 manage 46.5 K 2020-08-20 - 04:39 JustinAlbert Mouser order of (about half of) the components for 3 of the boards
PDFpdf TIA_RevA5.PDF r1 manage 4194.6 K 2020-08-20 - 04:15 JustinAlbert As-built Rev. A.5 schematic of the new transimpedance amplifier board (for the photodiodes -- ORCASat version)
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Topic revision: r3 - 2020-08-20 - JustinAlbert
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