[amsat-bb] Re: HEO naivete

David - KG4ZLB/MØZLB m0zlb at btinternet.com
Fri Feb 6 14:05:59 PST 2009

I speak as a relative newcomer to the world of amateur satellites but 
suffice to say, I am totally immersed in them now!

My thoughts are that whilst it would/will be nice to have an HEO, it is 
imperative that we replace those easy sats that are coming to the end of 
their lives or risk losing a whole new generation of amateurs who like 
me will stand in the parking lot of a hamfest one Saturday morning while 
Drew gives a demonstration and say to themselves, "Wow, that's cool"!

AO-27 is MIA, FO-29 was rescued thankfully. More recently we learn that 
DO-64 will not be available....these are the birds that we should 
concentrate on replacing!

Newcomers will spend a little extra to be able to work FM and SSB LEO's 
but surely no-one is expecting people to spend a lot of dollars on 
microwave stuff for a bird that might not a) make it to orbit or b) work 
properly or at all.

I would be prepared to donate $1000 for a share in getting another FM or 
SSB bird up as soon as possible and then once one, maybe two are up 
there then worry about an HEO.

The way things are going it seems unlikely that an HEO is going to get 
up in my lifetime and by then all the LEO's will have gone anyway. The 
LEO's are our bread and butter so to speak, the HEO's are the caviar!

Just my two cents!


Bruce Robertson wrote:
> Bob:
> 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:
>  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.
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