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Progress report, but no telecon today

Hi all,

No telecon today, due to the holiday season and since I'm on a flight this afternoon (flying to the East Coast to see family for the holidays). The next time both Arnold and I will be back in our respective offices and thus would be a good date for a telecon is on Thurs., Jan. 9 in the new year -- but I'm sending this progress report since it has been 2 weeks since the last one, and since there are a few new things to report. (And also to wish everyone very happy holidays!!!)

I received our real fiberglass parafoil spars from McMaster-Carr about 10 days ago -- first, here's a photo of them laying on the parafoil (together with two nylon spar end-extensions):

and here's a photo of the parafoil with its spar (and the spar's end-extensions) installed:

Remember that here we are trying a single long arc-ed spar, since our drop tests a couple weeks with 3 separate test-spars resulted in the parafoil ends flopping inward. Thus this past Sunday (Dec. 15), I did two drop tests with this single long arc-ed spar installed -- here are the videos of those two drop tests:

One can compare those two drop tests above with the three drop tests we did two weeks ago (which we reported in the previous minutes) using three separate spars:

As you can see, instead of the ends flopping inward like on the tests on Dec. 1 & 2, the tests on Dec. 15 with a long single arc-ed spar resulted in the parafoil getting twisted ... so not much of an improvement .... After thinking about this a bit, I think the next thing to try (instead of a long single arc-ed spar) will be using multiple fiberglass spars crossed over the parafoil like so:

or like so (with an additional spar bracing over the vents):

I'll do those further additional drop tests when I get back into Victoria on Dec. 27 (and when there's a non-rainy day). (Before doing that, obviously I'll need to make four little plastic gusset plates to hold the end of those spars in place, but I can make those little test pieces quickly.)

Radiometrix finally got back to me (after over 10 weeks of waiting for any sort of reply from them, and reminding them every couple of weeks!!!) regarding the missing BUSY signal from their claimed BUSY output pin on the SHX1. They confirmed at indeed, at present, the BUSY output is not implemented in the board's firmware (so indeed it always reading 4 volts is the expected response, given that lack of implementation). They asked me "Can you please let us know what would you like the SHX1 BUSY function to be? 1) To indicate Modem is busy or its Transmit Buffer is full? 2) Receive Buffer full with Valid Data?" and I responded that "1) To indicate Modem is busy or its Transmit Buffer is full" is preferable, so hopefully sometime in the future they will reply with new firmware that would implement that option, and we can then upload that new firmware and try it out. But, in the meantime, the two new 144 MHz RV-M8S radio modem boards from Raveon (https://www.raveon.com/m8s-oem-data-radio-modem) have arrived in New Hampshire, and I'll pick them up over when I get to the East Coast in a few hours, and then test them out first thing in the new year.

Student Peter Ogilvie is still working with the new Thorlabs equipment (12 extra standard FDS-100 photodiodes [with windows; and we will see if we can cleanly take a couple of the windows off with our WR1 can opener that we got this summer], three new laser diodes [a 980 nm wavelength L980P200, an 840 nm wavelength L840P200, and an extra 660 nm L660P120 laser diode], and some new laser diode driver ICs [MLD203P1, MLD203P2, MLD203CLN, MLD203P1E, and MLD203CLNE]).

The New Frontiers for Research (NFRF) application was due on Dec. 10 is now fully submitted, and is presently under review, together with our other applications (CSA FAST and NSERC) that were submitted in the past couple of months (with results on all of those expected in March or April of 2020).

I'm also working with a new 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).

Cheers, have very happy holidays, and we'll meet again on Thurs. Jan 9 in the new year!


-- jalbert - 2019-12-19

Title Progress report, but no telecon today
Forum ForumGeneral
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Quicktime movieMOV ALTAIRDropTest1WithRealSpars15Dec19.MOV r1 manage 2849.6 K 2019-12-19 - 16:21 UnknownUser First drop test with a real fiberglass spar installed (Sun. Dec. 15, 2019).
Quicktime movieMOV ALTAIRDropTest2WithRealSpars15Dec19.MOV r1 manage 3386.6 K 2019-12-19 - 16:22 UnknownUser Second drop test with a real fiberglass spar installed (Sun. Dec. 15, 2019).
JPEGJPG ALTAIRParafoilWithRealSpars.JPG r1 manage 3160.6 K 2019-12-19 - 16:18 UnknownUser The "real" fiberglass spars from McMaster-Carr on top of the parafoil (with the two nylon end extensions)
JPEGJPG ALTAIRParafoilWithRealSparsCrossed.JPG r1 manage 3204.0 K 2019-12-19 - 16:24 UnknownUser Fiberglass spars crossed onto the parafoil.
JPEGJPG ALTAIRParafoilWithRealSparsFullCrossed.JPG r1 manage 2866.5 K 2019-12-19 - 16:24 UnknownUser Fiberglass spars crossed, and braced over the vents, onto the parafoil.
JPEGJPG ALTAIRParafoilWithRealSparsInstalled.JPG r1 manage 2982.7 K 2019-12-19 - 16:19 UnknownUser A "real" fiberglass spar (with its two nylon end extensions) installed in the parafoil.
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Topic revision: r2 - 2019-12-19 - jalbert
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