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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all!

Welcome to 2022! We'll have our first telecon of the new year tomorrow (Jan. 12 in North America, Jan. 13 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, 11 am Hawaii, 23.00 European, 9 am Eastern Australia). Andrew Macdonald continues to populate and test our three newly-fabricated ALTAIR photodiode readout / transimpedance amplifier boards. And Colton Broughton (who is taking classes, rather than working on ALTAIR full-time, this semester) and I have made more progress with operation of the two Raveon M8S 144 MHz transceiver boards. Progress also continues to be made on optical simulation and on measuring electrical characteristics of the photodiode readout. 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
VII) AOB

Talk to you all tomorrow, thanks!!!
justin

-- Justin Albert - 2022-01-25

Hi all,

My apologies for the delay! -- here's the update on recent ALTAIR balloon work, minutes of both today's meeting as well as the meeting on Dec. 16 (attendees Arnold Gaertner [NRC], Liviu Ivanescu [Sherbrooke], and me, and today additionally Karun Thanjavur [UVic]):

Andrew Macdonald returned on Jan. 4 after a month break in December, and he has resumed populating one of our three fabricated ALTAIR photodiode readout / transimpedance amplifier boards. Here are two photographs of his partially-populated board (as of yesterday afternoon):

and a photo of the board within its current residence on Andrew's lab bench in the UVic phys & astro department electronics shop:

M8S data modem transceivers are here in my office (together with the LiPoly batteries that power them), and this weekend I will be testing Colton Broughton's most recent code updates for them, which can be found in:

https://particle.phys.uvic.ca/~jalbert/ALTAIR_M8S_Colton8dec21/

(as compared with his older code within https://particle.phys.uvic.ca/~jalbert/ALTAIR_M8S_Colton17nov21/ ).

Colton Broughton, Sarah Alshamaily, and Will Stokes have also completed installing AIFCOMSS ( https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/AIFCOMSSwithCUPredictorTest ) on their laptops. I've updated AIFCOMSS to work with the recent Cesium v1.83, as well as the instructions, and they all report success with this update and those instructions. The next two things that we know most definitely will need updating (or, rather, creating) are the station-keeping software for AIFCOMSS, and the online command-handling within the onboard Arduino software -- and I'll also be working on those over the next 2 weeks.

Regarding the latest news on our four Radiometrix SHX1 144 MHz transceiver modules that were returned to us from Radiometrix (following their firmware update to fix the BUSY output):

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 ALTAIR-relevant significant progress there yet -- 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!

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 will be in 2 weeks from now, on Thurs. Jan. 27.

Cheers, talk in 2 weeks from now -- thanks all!

justin

-- Justin Albert - 2022-01-25

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Title Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time
Forum ForumGeneral
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JPEGjpg ALTAIR_PartiallyPopulatedNewlyFabricatedTIAPhotodiodeReadoutBoardOnEShopBench_12jan22.jpg r1 manage 2206.4 K 2022-01-25 - 08:25 JustinAlbert Photograph, taken 12 Jan 2022 by me, of the recently-fabricated, partially populated (by Andrew Macdonald) ALTAIR photodiode readout board (i.e., board containing the transimpedance amplifiers and digitization, as usual) on its lab bench in the dept Electronics Shop
JPEGjpg ALTAIR_PartiallyPopulatedNewlyFabricatedTIAPhotodiodeReadoutBoardPhoto1_12jan22.jpg r1 manage 2718.2 K 2022-01-25 - 08:26 JustinAlbert Photograph #1, taken 12 Jan 2022 by me, of the recently-fabricated, partially populated (by Andrew Macdonald) ALTAIR photodiode readout board (i.e., board containing the transimpedance amplifiers and digitization, as usual)
JPEGjpg ALTAIR_PartiallyPopulatedNewlyFabricatedTIAPhotodiodeReadoutBoardPhoto2_12jan22.jpg r1 manage 2516.4 K 2022-01-25 - 08:27 JustinAlbert Photograph #2, taken 12 Jan 2022 by me, of the recently-fabricated, partially populated (by Andrew Macdonald) ALTAIR photodiode readout board (i.e., board containing the transimpedance amplifiers and digitization, as usual)
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