[amsat-bb] Re: Why do the amsats get more and more complex?

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Tue Sep 19 18:10:13 PDT 2006

 |New tech is great, 
 |but one line of thought is to keep most of the
 |high tech stuff on the ground and keep the 
 |satellite relatively simple and reliable. 
 |Just a thought.  Bob

> -----Original Message-----
> From: amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org 
> [mailto:amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org] On Behalf Of Steve Meuse
> Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 1:39 PM
> To: Jason White
> Cc: Amsat BB
> Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Why do the amsats get more and more
> Jason White expunged (jason at jason.white.name):
> > 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.
> A minor note of clarification, the Software Defined 
> Transponder (SDX) does not require groundstations to run 
> SDRs. It's a new method to implement the traditional linear 
> transponder design in software. 
> Now, as for the bigger/better issue, I'll make some
> - P3E is purpose built as a technology testing platform for a 
> very specific Mars mission, I don't see it as all bells and 
> whistles. (bigger better for the sake of bigger better)
> - The Eagle design, as it's turning out, *seems* to be much 
> less complicated than a AO-40 or P3E, at least in the number 
> of bands and functions. 
> Then there are the basics, like FCC Part 97 rules:
> Specifically...
> §97.1 Basis and purpose.
> (b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven 
> ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.
> (c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service 
> through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the 
> communications and technical phases of the art. 
> > 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
> I've talked about this before, but it's important to remember 
> that AMSAT is not a serivce provider. We don't exist to 
> provide a continual supply of mode X transponders in Y orbit. 
> We're here to advance the state of the art, IMHO.
> (of course, I still hold the right to throw a temper tantrum 
> over mode S downlinks)
> > Wouldn't it be better to separate out some of the more
> > 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 
> > case".
> If you want to build an "old standby" sat, go for it!
> The people who are actively building sats aren't interested 
> in that. I don't blame them either. But remember, AMSAT isn't 
> stopping ANYONE from putting a team together to build a new
> > 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
> > elliptical orbit would be a hoot!
> Of course, you would likely need a more robust equipment set 
> to work HEO :) It's a give and take, there isn't a perfect
> -Steve
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