tjjapha at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 17 11:29:12 PDT 2008
I've been reading the bb and feel like I'm emerging from a torture chamber. (That can't really be the case because torture is illegal here--or is it?)
We have serious problems as an organization, though it's tough to be specific because the info we're given on the subjects closest to our hearts has been so woefully inadequate. From the viewpoint of a long time AMSAT member (LM183) that seems indisputable. It's possible that a great deal of this unpleasantness could have been avoided if the folks who are aware of the facts would have made them widely available.
The membership is entitled to know quickly when important things change, whether that's a change in approach to getting a new bird up, a fundamental change in design philosophy for a new bird, financial difficulties, or a significant personnel change. We've been given next to nothing, and naturally that breeds discomfort, to say the least. NO MORE PABLUM, PLEASE.
Unless our leaders have given up completely on HEOs, and I don't think they have, a development schedule is a must. No serious project, whether built by paid pros, volunteers, or elves, can be pursued without one. (Schedules for project components change, it's true, and when that happens, the master schedule is usually adjusted, and a new one is promulgated.) In our case,
because the launch is so uncertain, perhaps the final milestone on our project schedule should be "Ready for Spaceship Integration" or some such. There is widely used computer based project management software available.
Without a well-known and well-disseminated development schedule, there is no project, and our leadership should understand that.
What about financial, management, and technical resources? We know that there are serious--possibly fatal--financial obstacles to launch. But what about other constraints? Is there enough money to develop and build the bird or not? I have never heard a statement on the matter. What are the specific areas in which technical and managerial volunteers are needed?
My sense is that if the outlook for resources is that we'll have enough for everything except the launch, then we should get Eagle and/or the Intelsat thing ready as fast as prudently possible. Everyone--designers, builders, Board, membership at large-- will have a great sense of achievement. Then, if it comes to naught, we'll all know that we did what we could. As it stands, it seems it would take a great deal of time--years-- to be ready even if a launch opportunity appeared. But then again, I'm not at all sure of that, because for information we have available is, well, woefully inadequate.
One final thought: I'm just as tired of reading posts that come down hard on "complainers and whiners" as I am of the rest of it. We do have very serious unresolved issues that threaten the future of our piece of this great hobby. Why shouldn't people complain about that and urge resolution? Calls to "stop complaining and volunteer" strike me as rather hollow. What is it that we're volunteering for, envelope stuffing (everyone can do it), building something (very few can do it), strategic thinking (many think they can do it)? Again, give us the facts and, with the impressive talent we can draw from, we'll come up with some answers. Without the facts, we won't.
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