[amsat-bb] Re: Launch Costs (was-re: AMSAT-BB Digest, Vol. 7, Issue 312)

R Oler orbitjet at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 25 16:52:21 PDT 2012

Bob  General or specific rants are "OK".  Look I go to FAA meetings every six months to hang on to my DPE certification and after a bit unless the presenter is very good...you cover the same thing over and over after two decades of doing this.

I just dont agree with much of what you are saying.

There is "upmass" that is at least "not taken" by operating payloads.  OSC is going to use a mass simulator for their Antares launch, there has not been a Falcon9 that has flown anywhere near "full payload mass", the next one on October 7 or there abouts wont do it...there is likely to be a Falcon heavy less then full launch at some point in the next 2-5 years...


these people are going to try a business on the notion of carrying secondary payloads on the Falcon9...there is a basic bus associated with them...when the bus is done is it possible that there is room to put an amateur payload on that?

there are "places" on the Falcon9 second stage for "small payloads"...what was the payload that flew on an Ariane second stage and stayed attached to it?  IDEFIX or something like that...

I've never quite gotten an answer as to why we are not trying to get a linear transponder attached permanently to ISS?  Since the Russians ran the last satellite as a sort of ISS payload for a bit its clear that there is some room there to at least try that.  Or maybe not; the last satellite from ISS seemed to "toast" a lot of bridges so maybe those options are gone.

Andrew raised Dragon lab...if we can get a payload on Dragonlab that strikes me as a good "door opener" with SpaceX...

Now would any of these organizations dole out 5-10-100 lbs of payload 
for an amateur radio satellite?  I dont know and maybe everyone at AMSat
 is asking as hard as they can and getting the door slammed in their 
faces...but that is a different story then "there is no launches'

Whats the approach to take with these people?  AMSAT is big in the educational mode and maybe that is the only pony that the organization has, but maybe there are other approaches that would be more productive.  

When the group I am a part of wanted to move our repeater/beacon complex from a members tower in Clear Lake to something "better" we got a lot of no's until we got some yes's but we didnt use education at all.  We used emergency communications (which payed off when the hurricane came FEMA started using our repeater system), public service and a few other things and finally made it through the door.  For it we got 300 feet or tower height, a rack space and emergency power.  When the time came the folks there even gave us hardline...

Since you brought up "politics"...all I know is that trying the same thing over and over usually ensures getting the same results.  I dont think we are going to see an AO-10,13 or 40 again because of the propulsion issue.  I doubt any group is going to let a pyalod on with a motor unless there are "real rocket scientist" doing the job...the record has not been all that sterling.

As for going to the "null file"...gee I am a life member of Amsat and well I am surprised that these post are showing up on the board...

Robert WB5MZO

Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2012 13:59:09 -0400
Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] Launch Costs (was-re: AMSAT-BB Digest, Vol. 7, Issue 312)
From: rwmcgwier at gmail.com
To: orbitjet at hotmail.com
CC: amsat-bb at amsat.org

You are going to be used for my generic rant, it's not personal.  I can get away with this because I have no official role.

AMSAT here and elsewhere has NO desire to become just another customer for exactly the reasons you describe. It amazes me that anyone thinks we don't know this.

There is a reason for Cubesat work. It's about the only "free" ride available.  Here in the USA, we have NASA ELaNa and there are similar programs elsewhere as essentially our only access to space.

The Chinese "amateur" space groups are doing larger spacecraft but they have direct government support as they try to build a spacefaring cadre of engineers and scientists.

In the early days/years of AMSAT we could talk NASA or ESA folks into letting us on board.  Now, there are no ESA test rides and Arianespace is a corporation, desirous of making a profit, and giving away rides doesn't contribute to their task of helping the bottom line.

People seem to think that AMSAT-anywhere have gotten lazy, stupid, old, whatever.  It is not true.  We can build tiny sat's or micro sat's and get them up with only cubesats being relatively easy.  I've seen a few of our older supporters tell folks where to send their donations and support......  This reminds me of being told things by politicians these days.. Promise much, deliver nothing,,,

How has that worked out for folks?
If ANYONE has a known likely way to space for a significant amateur transponder only mission, I dare say you will get trampled by AMSAT-anywhere to get to the provider.

In general, suggestions like "why don't you folks" or "I think you folks should" go directly to the null file because they consume AMSAT archive storage and only increase its noise floor and they are known to the utter novices working directly with AMSAT-Anywhere.


On Tuesday, September 25, 2012, R Oler  wrote:


If AMSAT becomes or has become "just another customer" of launchers then you are probably correct and even more so the future for "realsats" ie ones that actually do communications is bleak.

I am sort of surprised that this is the "thought" ...if here in Houston we had to "pay rent" for our tower space (and we have a couple of them) then the group that I am a part of which has a pretty nice repeater/packet system would simply be out of luck.  What we were able to do is convince the folks who usually take the large dollars to view us as a public service and we get the tower space (and the everything else space including Electricity) for 10 dollars a year.

My boss routinely sends his Gulfstream fleet out to do things for which people "pay" nothing or little because he gives to good causes.

While AMSAT and other groups might or not compete with paying payloads have we lost the ability to go out and convince people that AMSAT is a worthy cause?

Specific question.  Has AMSAT approached SpaceX for a "good cause" launch?  RGO  WB5MZO

Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2012 07:47:28 -0400

From: glasbrenner at mindspring.com

To: orbitjet at hotmail.com

Subject: RE: [amsat-bb] Re: Launch Costs (was-re: AMSAT-BB Digest, Vol. 7, Issue 312)

CC: amsat-bb at amsat.org

I'll just leave this here, to prove the reality of the situation:


"Doud said that SpaceX recently completed an internal study on the

feasibility of flying secondary payloads. That effort also developed

prices for flying those secondary payloads, which he disclosed in his

presentation. A P-POD would cost between $200,000 and $325,000 for

missions to LEO, or $350,000 to $575,000 for missions to geosynchronous

transfer orbit (GTO). An ESPA-class satellite weighing up to 180

kilograms would cost $4–5 million for LEO missions and $7–9 million for

GTO missions, he said."

73, Drew KO4MA


Drew..No it is not a false premise.

.if SpaceX is flying with "not used" mass we should at least approach them to be able to see if we could put payloads on the vehicle..or take something to ISS...there is mass and space, the launch on Oct 7 will only carry 1000 lbs.  Also we might be able to find some space on the Falcon heavy launch.

Robert WB5MZO


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Bob McGwier
Owner and Technical Director, Allied Communication, LLC
Facebook: N4HYBob


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