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Telecon tomorrow (Thursday) @ 5 pm Eastern time

Hi all!

Telecon tomorrow (Nov. 18 in North America, Nov. 19 in Australia) at the regular time: 5 pm Eastern (2 pm Pacific, 11 am Hawaii, 23.00 European, 9 am Eastern Australia). As mentioned in my brief message last week on the postponing of the telecon to this week, we now have the three new fabricated ALTAIR transimpedance amp boards from OSH Park, and Andrew Macdonald has begun populating them! However, Andrew unfortunately has been sick with the flu since this past Friday (he is feeling mostly better now, but probably won't be in until this Friday), thus I still don't have photos of his work on his boards so far. (But soon!) We do however have some nice new working Arduino code from Colton Broughton for our two Raveon M8S 144 MHz transceiver boards -- I'll send a link to his new code in the progress report tomorrow. 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@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

On Wed, 10 Nov 2021, Justin Albert wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> As we decided in the telecon 2 weeks ago, our nominal meeting day tomorrow will be shifted forward one week (to Thurs. Nov. 18), due to the federal holiday tomorrow in Canada, the
> U.S., and in many other countries throughout the world.
>
> FYI, we now have the three new fabricated ORCASat transimpedance amp boards from OSH Park, and Andrew Macdonald is presently populating them. More -- including photos -- next week,
> at the usual time!
>
> Please enjoy your holiday!
> Justin

-- jalbert - 2021-11-18

Hi all,

My apologies for the delay! -- here's the update on recent ALTAIR balloon work, minutes of the meeting three weeks ago on Oct. 28 (attendees Arnold Gaertner [NRC] and me), and a reminder of the telecon in 15 minutes(!) from now:

As mentioned yesterday, the three fabricated ALTAIR versions of the photodiode readout / transimpedance amplifier board designed by Andrew Macdonald, with layout shown in the image here:

arrived last week, and Andrew has started populating them. (As a reminder, the board layout is based on the schematic of the completed boards at

.) As also mentioned yesterday, though, Andrew unfortunately has been sick with the flu since this past Friday (he is feeling mostly better now, but probably won't be in until tomorrow), so I still don't have photos of his work so far. (Next time!) And he'll of course continue his work populating, and then testing, right after he gets fully healthy and back.

Student Colton Broughton has developed a set of working Arduino code for our two 144 MHz Raveon M8S data modem transceivers:

His code can be seen within the directory:

https://particle.phys.uvic.ca/~jalbert/ALTAIR_M8S_Colton17nov21/

I will test his code out with the Raveon boards over the next couple of days (to confirm the testing of his code that Colton has already done), and then add them to the repository:

https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/ALTAIROnboardArduinoSoftware

in the directory

https://github.com/ProjectALTAIR/ALTAIROnboardArduinoSoftware/tree/master/libraries/ALTAIR_Devices

right after I've also tested it.

Students Colton Broughton, Sarah Alshamaily, and Will Stokes have 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):

and the problems that Colton found with them (i.e., that of the 12 radio TX to radio RX permutations between those 4 boards, only 3 of the 12 permutations work, 3 of the other permutations give spotty connections -- e.g. only around 1 out of every 5 characters gets successfully transmitted -- as if one is transmitting and the other is receiving on neighbouring channels, but not the same channel..., and the remaining 6 permutations do not successfully receive any transmitted characters) -- we sent an e-mail to Radiometrix to ask about this 8 weeks ago. They then sent back an e-mail a week later asking for more information, and Colton replied to them the next day providing the info (just a query about what logic voltages we were using -- we've being using 5V TTL from our Arduino Megas). Radiometrix has not replied to us since that e-mail reply sent to them 7 weeks ago, and thus I pinged them 5 weeks ago to follow up, and again a few days ago -- and Radiometrix hasn't replied to those yet either.

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

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 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 is in 15 minutes from now -- see below for Skype instructions.

Cheers, talk in 15 mins (!) from now -- thanks all!

justin

-- jalbert - 2021-11-18

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