[amsat-bb] Why do the amsats get more and more complex?
jason at jason.white.name
Tue Sep 19 07:48:44 PDT 2006
This is intended to be an honest question that I've wanted to ask, but I
don't want to spark controversy or long threads that monopolize the
reflector. I have a feeling this could go either way, so I'm just asking
politely that the thread not go that way! It's not my intent.
Anyway, I'm just curious why it seems that every new satellite project
proposed seems to be bigger and more complex than the last? I keep
hearing about exotic modes and uplink/downlink bands for P3E.. software
defined transceivers, etc. etc. and what it looks like to me are more
and more failure points. I understand the need to push the limits of
technology as a justification for our very existence, but personally I
feel like the designs are overly complicated and highly priced. I'm not
ready to switch my earth station to SDRs, for instance.. I'm dubious
about putting one into orbit.. then again, I'm not skilled enough to
make those sorts of decisions.
What I'm getting at is that Oscar 7 proved how reliable older technology
can be.. For the price of one of the phase 3 birds it seems like
several Mode B linear transponder sats could be put up, or a few more FM
sats. I personally would much rather see a modest mode B sat in AO-40s
intended orbital pattern than to try to wrangle parts for microwave.
Did it get too easy for people or something?
Wouldn't it be better to separate out some of the more experimental
stuff from the old standbys? That way a failure of one whole sat would
still leave something usable for the same money spent. My vote would be
to piggyback a completely independent analog satellite onto P3E "just in
Like I said, please, I'm looking for a real, thought out response.. I
didn't write the above to be a critque or to troll or anything like
that, I am just curious because it seems to me, as an outside observer,
that after the failure of AO-40 the direction was to go bigger and even
more complicated, which left me cold considering what I had done at my
station to work AO-40. Even when AO-40 was up I felt it was very odd
that time and money were spent on components and systems that were never
used (did the solar panels ever deploy?) Yes, I know the sat was
damaged, and that explains a good bit of it, but it still felt like some
things were wasted. Emphasis on "felt".. I couldn't know the real
process that resulted in the decisions made.
If someone could help me understand why the direction is the way it is
maybe I could get excited about the bigger sats, but I think you get
more "bang for the buck" with the smaller less complicated birds. My
favorite so far is PCSat I. Mostly off the shelf hardware and I had a
very easy time digipeating APRS through it. One of those in an
elliptical orbit would be a hoot!
Jason - N1XBP
P.S. - One last plea, this isn't a troll! I'm worried people will think
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