[amsat-bb] Re: Top 10 sats

Andrew Glasbrenner glasbrenner at mindspring.com
Sat Dec 12 12:48:42 PST 2009

Vince Fiscus, KB7ADL wrote:
> It's really sad that Eagle isn't on it.  Can't seem to get the AMSAT-NA BOD 
> to commit to building anything but grid sats.
I speak for myself here, and not the BOD or organization as a whole. 
Most of them are not the masochist I seem to be with regards to -bb.

I don't think committing to build satellites that we CANNOT afford to 
launch is good business, and neither do my fellow BOD members. Designing 
a satellite for an unknown launcher envelope and orbit isn't very wise 
either. Or would you prefer we have -two- HEOs that no amateur effort 
could afford to launch? AMSAT members should understand the days of 
cheap and nearly free launches to anywhere are over, especially to HEO.  
ESA's past charity with the Phase 3 Ariane launches has really ruined 
all reasonable expectations. I understand your frustration, but 
directing it towards the BOD is not productive. Sometimes you have to 
suck it up and face facts.

We currently have two new projects in development. One is a 1U cubesat 
known as AMSAT-Fox. 1U cubes only generate about 2w DC orbit average, 
which is not enough to run a transponder at a level of performance our 
members would expect. This is why it is a single channel system at this 
point of development. The radios will also be suitable for inclusion on 
other cubesats, as a income source for AMSAT, and as motivation to 
develop secondary amateur missions. Fox can also serve as a partial 
successor to AO-51 for about 1/5th of the cost. Without even really 
starting fundraising yet, we are well on our way to being able to pay 
for construction and launch.

The other project includes a Mode U/V linear transponder as a possible 
secondary package on a host satellite going to LEO. Sorry if that 
doesn't meet your approval to be classified as a non-"grid sat". It's 
the best we can afford to do in both terms of money and volunteers.

We also have a third project in cooperation with SUNY Binghamton and IBM 
to develop the frame and power systems for a 3U cubesat that will 
support good LEO comms missions.

I've been beating the bushes to find ways to get us back into the 
business of building and FLYING satellites, along with the rest of the 
Engineering Task Force. I have a spreadsheet two pages long of failed 
attempts and contacts, with only a few "may happen"s. Perhaps we'll find 
some path back to high orbit when we can revive Eagle, but we shouldn't 
and won't twiddle our thumbs until then.

73, Drew KO4MA

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