[amsat-bb] Re: Why do hamsats? (Or anything else...)

Rocky Jones orbitjet at hotmail.com
Sat Oct 17 08:47:13 PDT 2009

Diane.  I concur in you're comments particularly that failure is not alone an indicator of incompetence.  (my words but hopefully it is fair to you're thought)

What in engineering (and in life) signals incompetence is moving outside of established engineering design parameters.  Hence if one has  a specification that no foam comes off the tank and yet foam comes off the tank on every flight...then dont be surprised when a big one comes off and ruins your vehicle.

( a modest summation of the Columbia accident investigation board).

It is in my view not competent engineering to fly a payload, where the first one failed and it was several orders of magnitude less complex then what one is trying to fly now...and one has really no idea of why it failed.  

How is the later important?

A prudent guess (and that is all it is) is that Suitsat 1 failed because someone on the space station put the darn thing together wrong.  or the assembly instructions were wrong or...

If it worked on the ground and in the various test chambers then that is one prudent method of investigation (AMSAT may know this already and just cannot say it out loud because the mythic heroes on orbit never make mistakes!)   But before launching a far more complicated payload one might want to find that out (the satellite might help them here if there is not a lot of assembly to do on the station).

But a software derived transponder is not simple and if the thing fails...most likely no one will know why.  Was it some astronaut missed one of those switches or is the entire program screwed?  What to do with cubesat then?

AMSAT's role should be as far as possible to keep the membership supplied with functioning satellites.  It is not the ham equivelent of DARPA or whatever.  If the role is not to keep hamsats in orbit, then what does it do

Robert WB5MZO
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