[amsat-bb] Cubesats

Howie DeFelice howied231 at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 8 12:10:08 PST 2011

I recently attended the HackerSPACE conference in Kentucky hosted by Prof. Bob Twiggs. I too was a Cubesat non-believer but after attending the conference I came away with a new perspective. Universities are not given "gift certificates" for free launches, they must compete for them with their sponsor (a.k.a. the guy that is paying for the launch) in the same manner that AMSAT has recently submitted a proposal. These proposals are evaluated and the ones that the sponsor deems best qualified are given an opportunity for launch. Since the sponsors are promoting STEM education, that's what the proposals are evaluated on. The more educational content the better the chances to fly. The good news for us is that from what I observed at the conference, universities would be very happy to have assistance in the design of their communications package. Not only do we bring years of communications experience and a world wide monitoring network but we also offer actual hardware and technical support for free. Adding state of the art communications capability to a scientific/education payload increases the chances for a launch. Everybody wins in this scenario. The problem as I see it is not technical at this point but one of marketing. We need to turn the discussion educating the educators on the benefits of working with AMSAT. Almost half of the attendees at the HackerSPACE conference had no idea who AMSAT was or what they did. We were very lucky to have Prof. Twiggs there and the folks at Kentucky Space to include amateur radio as part of the conference. If we are unhappy about what universities are flying then it's up to us to fix it by making our presence known. The AMSAT engineering team has already proved they can build either FM or linear transponders into the right size package now we need to sell the product. We all need to become sales people and try to find the leads that could be our next launch opportunity.  Of course this is just my opinion, you may have a different one :)
._    . _ . Howie, AB2S  		 	   		  

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