[amsat-bb] a little perspective

Bruce Robertson ve9qrp at gmail.com
Wed Aug 3 17:20:48 PDT 2011

I wonder if I might hope that the outrage from us amchair cosmonauts
will abate by tomorrow.

Let's take a look at what we need and what we've got: as an
organization, we need cheap rides to space; but we have some pretty
find satellite-building expertise. The relationship with ISS will, if
we are reasonable, give us cheap rides. The NASA-TV announcer
repeatedly said that ARISSAT-1 was the prototype of a series of
satellites! Already, we've had the opportunity to fly our first
SDX.The cost of making more along the lines of ARISSAT-1 is minimal
compared to the cost of the ride, so this is a crucial relationship.

What does ISS want from our relationship? Probably, an increased sense
of purpose: we get a ride, they get recognition, and perhaps a bit
more TV time for the EVA, and a connection with student research.
Here's where it counts for us to be polite in a difficult situation.
Focusing on errors, nationalistic name-calling, and the rest, just
diminish what they get out the bargain, and make things more difficult
for those who work with us who have negotiated these waters.

Besides, I think the criticisms underestimate the technical difficulty
and novelty of what we've been part of. I've watched many EVAs, and
the feeling that things are not exactly going by plan is pretty common
(even when Americans are running the show :-) How do you most reliably
ship and store a small satellite to an orbiting space station? How do
you most safely jettison it during EVA? As a species we have very
little experience with this, and didn't get it 100% this time. Surely,
kudos is due to AMSAT for being part of the group that is trying to
answer these questions.

Anyway, I have more fun thinking of it that way. And I'm looking
forward to downloading as much telemetry for Kursk as I can.

73, Bruce


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