[amsat-bb] Re: HEO naivete

Bruce Robertson ve9qrp at gmail.com
Fri Feb 6 13:39:32 PST 2009


I don't think the information is lacking, it's just that the situation
has not changed much. As I understand it, we face this predicament: we
cannot find a cut-rate ride to HEO, and we cannot reasonably expect to
collect funds from our members to pay for a full-cost ride to HEO.
This is a result of the full commercialization of launches, wherein
space is a business first and foremost, and each launch is something
to be sold for its maximum value. When that takes place, our heavy HEO
birds are very hard to pay for.

Avenues are, as they say, being explored. AMSAT-DL is talking to its
government space agency to see if they would like to help fund P3E and
P5 as a package, and they're talking to SpaceX, which might want to
have an experimental payload on a Falcon9 launch. It must be hard,
frustrating work, and I appreciate their doing it.

Meanwhile, AMSAT-NA is really thinking outside the box, asking "what
if we just buy a small parcel of an existing launch?"  That's what the
IntelSat GEO idea is about. Now as I understand it, the discount here
is in the fact that we're not launching our own boost motor,
spaceframe, etc. Instead we make some circuits, some antennas, and
they get put on some spare space and get given some power. So we can't
assume that 2m and 70cm are a given here: their antennas, for
instance, take up quite a bit of space, weigh more, etc.

Those microwave bands, however, might just be the ticket. I don't
think it is fair to assume that those working on this are going in
that direction out of a desire for the new or cool; as I see it,
they're just trying to deal with this new reality. The hard truth is
that it might be more realistic for all of us to switch to different
bands than for us to hold out for a HEO/GEO opportunity using the
equipment we have now.

I know the following is something some of us do not want to hear, but
this new economic reality also has presented us (and others) with some
interesting opportunities in LEO. The Cubesat concept works by paying
full-price for the launch, but for a smaller amount of weight than was
possible in the past. I've heard launch prices quoted at $40,000!
(Let's say a 3x cube like Delfi3C costs $150,000 for launch. This
group, right here, could design its own communication satellite and
launch it if there are 149 more people like me who would give $1000
for the pleasure of being part of such a venture! JoAnn started a
threat that explored such an idea. It really could be a possibility.)

I wonder, could we work within these parameters to make a bird that
would functionally replace AO-7? That altitude seems to me much more
pleasing for communications.

On Fri, Feb 6, 2009 at 4:41 PM,  <w7lrd at comcast.net> wrote:
> Hello
> I have never complained on this BB before.   However, I do have a fair amount of naivete (as many of us) regarding our next HEO.  The lack of information from AMSAT as well from our DL friends is frustraiting.  I read  in the news about many  countries sending up satellites virtually every few weeks. .   The shuttle is going up every few months.  With all this traffic why can't we get a ride?   I know it's all about money.   In the latest AMSAT Journal there is an article talking about using frequencies at 5650 and 3400Mhz.  Talk about scarr ing  away curr e n t members let alone attracting new ones.  AO-40 (sobsob) was supposed to be the best of the best for everyone.  The current mentality seems to be to put all our "over the top" technology in one basket.  I subscribe to the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle regarding my ham radio endeavors.  An example, when L or S mode is open on AO-51 how many are there?  Yes, I pay my dues, buy AMSAT shirts,  and contribute to the  Presidents Club fu nding, and can be found on many of our satellites.  I build and sell antennas  and send a portion of those proceeds to AMSAT.  I believe I have  earned the right to complain.  I have read the background of many of our members and BOD, we indeed have many  very smart educated people  in high places.  Am I naive about the details?  No doubt.  I'm just a retired old ham with a back yard full of unuseable antennas, and a lack of comprehenson about what is going on (or not).  If this diatribe is all wet I can take the slings and arrows.  Talk to me about it on AO-7.
> 73 Bob W7LRD
> AMSAT 28498
> Seattle
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