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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all,

Telecon tomorrow (June 25 in North America, June 26 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, 11 am Hawaii, 23.00 European, 7 am Eastern Australia). Recent news on the update of AIFCOMSS for Python 3 (and the resulting updated Pydap library), on tests of new laser diodes and photodiodes by engineering students Evan Moore and Josh Gage, and on the 144 MHz transcevers (Raveon and Radiometrix). UVic also now has the FAST grant forms from CSA and is presently in the process of signing them. 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@uvic.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

-- jalbert - 2020-06-24

Hi all,

Apologies for the delay! -- here are minutes of our last telecon on June 11 (attendees Liviu Ivanescu and Norm O'Neill (U Sherbrooke) and me, regrets from Arnold Gaertner (NRC)), an update on ALTAIR balloon work, and a reminder of the telecon in 30 minutes(!) from now:

There has been some slow but necessary progress on moving AIFCOMSS (https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/AIFCOMSSwithCUPredictorTest) to Python 3, and the resulting required update of the Pydap library (https://github.com/pydap/pydap) to a more recent version than the ancient Pydap v. 3.0.1 that AIFCOMSS has been using. There's an unfortunate fatal bug in recent versions of the Pydap library when using the NOAA GFS (global forecast system) files that AIFCOMSS uses (and of course a lot of other software around the world uses as well -- but apparently avoiding the use of Pydap, and thus any interaction between Python and these GFS files -- because of this bug in Pydap). I've posted this to the Pydap library maintainers at https://github.com/pydap/pydap/issues/121#issuecomment-649208576 , however it is not answered or fixed yet. I'll ping them again tomorrow (and daily until there is a fix or workaround for this issue).

Radiometrix 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 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), and thus I'll ask them about this again at the beginning of July. 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 the dummy gondola.)

Since there now exist a couple of miniature lightweight low-cost atmospheric aerosol particle size sensors that one can purchase and that could easily fit within our balloon gondola, for example the Alphasense OPC-R1: http://www.alphasense.com/WEB1213/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/OPC-R1.pdf and the DFRobot SEN0177: https://www.dfrobot.com/product-1272.html , I asked Liviu Ivanescu at Sherbrooke which of those sensors he would suggest we might possibly add to our payload, as having the additional info from such a sensor could potentially be quite useful to us. Liviu suggested we might try the DFRobot SEN0177, thus I'll purchase one of those -- they are nice and cheap, only $46.90 USD -- and test this aerosol particle size distribution sensor out here on the ground.

UVic research services is presently working on signing the FAST grant forms from CSA, and I'm hoping that will be done by tomorrow.

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 Moore 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 30 minutes from now (see below for Skype instructions).

Cheers, talk in a half hour(!) from now -- thanks all!

justin

-- jalbert - 2020-07-09

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