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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all,

Telecon tomorrow (Jan. 28 in North America, Jan. 29 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, noon Hawaii, 23.00 European, 9 am Eastern Australia). Evan and new student Michael are still working on testing the electronics, and writing and testing new firmware for, our new boards (i.e., the transimpedance amps and motherboards), and things are still looking good so far on that. (They have a new in-vacuum test setup, mostly for the testing of heat sinking of the laser diode sources in vacuum, and a wifi connection to communicate with it from outside their vacuum chamber.) I've done more work on FDTD and ray tracing Monte Carlo simulation (and have some more new plots on that, which I'll send around tomorrow). We additionally 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 - 2021-01-28

Hi all,

My apologies for the delay! -- here's an update on recent ALTAIR balloon work, minutes of the last meeting on Jan. 14 (attendees Arnold Gaertner [NRC] and me), and a reminder of the telecon in 20 minutes(!) from now:

Our electrical engineers Evan Moore and Michael Huynh have continued to work hard on testing out the new transimpedance amplifier board, together with the new motherboard for ORCASat. Evan and Mike sent me photos of their testing setups -- here are photos of Evan's setup:

and here's a photo of Mike's setup:

I am hoping, and pushing them, to have our new transimpedance amplifier board fully tested ASAP, so that I can hand the full design of that over to Andrew Macdonald, who can then produce a version of that board to fit in the ALTAIR form factor (he should be able to do that quickly once he has the board-tested design files from Evan and Mike).

We got quotes on a 1 MOhm metrological calibrated resistor (also to aid in testing and cross-checks), but neither of the two Canadian manufacturers of metrological resistors (Guildline and Measurements International) responded to the UVic RFQ! (IET and Fluke, the two U.S. manufacturers, were the 2 responders to the RFQ, but the quotes were both too high.) Our students will send a e-mail to the presidents of Guildline and/or Measurements International to see if we could partner with them and thus hopefully get a good deal on a 1 MOhm metrological resistor.

I've begun to look some more at MEEP (https://meep.readthedocs.io/en/latest/) for finite-difference time domain (FDTD) simulation of integrating sphere output, but I haven't yet had time to make any significant progress there -- I'm hoping to do that in the next couple of weeks. It will be interesting to compare that with ray tracing simulations, when I can get a chance to do that!

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 a very long time; the UK is enduring its second wave of COVID, and with new even-more-highly-transmissible COVID variants now, and the country is still under a lot of restrictions as a result. Our department electrical engineer Nick Braam sent them last month (on Monday, Dec. 14) an e-mail to check up on when they will (finally) be sending the firmware-updated SHX1 modules back to us, to which they still haven't replied. (We'll send another check-up message in February.) In the meantime, 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 - 2021-01-28

Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
JPEGjpg EvanORCASatTestSetupPhoto20210114_164750.jpg r1 manage 619.4 K 2021-01-28 - 22:06 JustinAlbert Evan's electronics testing setup (as of Jan. 14, 2021), photo #1
JPEGjpg EvanORCASatTestSetupPhoto20210114_164757.jpg r1 manage 1374.8 K 2021-01-28 - 22:07 JustinAlbert Evan's electronics testing setup (as of Jan. 14, 2021), photo #2
JPEGjpg MikeHuynhORCASatTestSetupPhoto20210129.jpg r1 manage 2424.4 K 2021-01-28 - 22:07 JustinAlbert Mike's electronics testing setup (as of Jan. 28, 2021)
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Topic revision: r1 - 2021-01-28 - JustinAlbert
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