[amsat-bb] More Future Thoughts

Jeff Davis ke9v at live.com
Sat Jul 4 06:13:57 PDT 2009

It's interesting to watch how the desperation to have assets in high orbit 
has driven the ideas ever more grandiose here on the old -BB. We've moved 
from putting a "simple" transponder (as if there were such a thing) 35,000 
miles over our head to landing a repeater a quarter million miles away on 
the Moon and using robotic rovers to lay directional antennas along the 
lunar surface...

What's next, a Jovian constellation of amateur satellites?

This is almost directly the result of having added the "government" into the 
fictional scenario. Whenever a new idea starts with, "maybe we can get the 
government to give us a ride..." then what follows can be as ostentatious as 
we like because of the perception that the government can afford to do 
really BIG things.

And we invariably try to justify that they should want to do this because of 
"emergency communication".

It would seem to be more constructive to substitute the words "big magical 
genie" in your plans everywhere you use the word "government" or "NASA". 
That way when you write, "if we could just get a big magical genie to give 
us a ride to the Moon..." the reality will sink in and it probably won't 
seem like such a grand idea before it sees the light of day.

We need to disabuse ourselves of the ridiculous notion that the government 
is anxious and willing to stuff our pockets with cash just because "when all 
else fails". Need we be reminded that we're in the midst of the worst global 
economic recession since the great depression? Tax revenues are low while 
debt is unbelievably high. Politicians may be stupid but they're going to 
easily sniff out the nonsense of spending millions of dollars so a few 
hundred radio hams can enjoy their high-tech hobby.

(And who really wants  them to do that anyway? What would be your reaction 
if you read the news tomorrow that the government was going to spend $20 
million tax dollars to help promote Frisbee golf, coin collecting, or some 
other hobby?)

When life gives you lemons you make lemonade. We can't get to HEO, so what 
can we do?

I think our best option is to create a lot more interesting things to do at 
LEO since we know we can get there; but let's make sure we aren't leaving a 
stone un-turned.

What about other orbits that may not be as desirable as HEO but that offer 
better coverage than low-earth?

I recall reading something from G0RMF about adapting a CubeSat to include 
some sort of a propulsion system to get to a mid-Earth orbit:


I have no idea if this is viable, but it seems to me that if we want to 
place assets higher than LEO these are the kinds of ideas we should be 
kicking around on the BB and perhaps leave the moon base installation ideas 
for AMSAT members in 2050 to figure out how to make work and to fund.

73 de Jeff, KE9V


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