[amsat-bb] Unused sats

Howie HowieD231 at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 1 14:56:37 PDT 2009

While the opportunity to ride share on a GEO sat is probably our best chance
at a HEO transponder, it is still a very slim chance in my opinion. I have
worked in the commercial satellite industry for over 25 years and the most
valuable piece of real estate in existence is located in the Clark Belt.
Commercial satellites are very much a "for profit" business and every watt
of power and ounce of weight has a dollar value beyond comprehension. Even
if we offered to pay our share of weight and power, it would not be enough
because the loss of return on investment for the non revenue generating
"hitch hiker" must be factored in as well. I now work for a subsidiary of
the second largest satellite operator in the world who is expanding their
business to offer "hosted payloads" to customers who want to orbit
specialized payloads without having to launch their own satellite. One of my
co-workers was invited to participate in a meeting of the group working on
this offering. When I found out, I suggested he bring up the idea of
launching a very small amateur payload as a demonstration of the great
utility that can be achieved with a very small, cost effective payload. He
did and the response was "You mean for free ?" He was never invited back. If
we want to get on a commercial sat, we need to have something to "sell",
i.e. a good reason for them to orbit something that may help them generate
revenues in the near future. I can say with reasonable confidence that an
analog bent pipe transponder will not be very interesting. Something along
the lines of the Advanced Communications Package might. Even though I was
not a big fan, the P-25 over satellite might be another good one if we could
prove a good scenario. If we want a ride into HEO, we need to earn it.

Howie AB2S

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