[amsat-bb] What on earth (or in space...) is going on?

Pete Parisetti peteparisetti at gmail.com
Sun Dec 27 14:58:19 UTC 2015


Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time and providing these detailed
explanations. I trust that many in the amateur satellite community will
find them very useful. If I don't fully appreciate the security
implications, from what you say I can at least understand the need for
confidentiality, so, again, thanks very much for informing us.

My only afterthought is that, if such information was posted, for instance,
on the AMSAT newsfeed, a lot of confusion and misunderstanding would have
been avoided.

Personally, I fervently hope that the "P3E deal" will see the light of the
day, and, yes, that the SDR transponder on board will also provide for that
"analog experience" which is so dear to many of us.

73 and HNY


On Sun, Dec 27, 2015 at 2:25 PM, Robert McGwier <rwmcgwier at gmail.com> wrote:

> Pete
> Your confusion is completely understandable and I will do the best I am
> allowed and able to do to explain.
> First, my apologies to everyone for the necessary low profile on P3E.
> The agreement announced was "We get P3E if I get a launch".
> That is as far as I AM ALLOWED TO GO.
> I am requesting from the US government a way, a path forward, that puts
> something they want tested into P3E and in return, they give us and our
> amateur satellite service payload a ride DIRECTLY to the final orbit, no
> motor required.
> The branch of the US government being worked with is VERY averse to
> publicity.  Thus, radio silence.
> Peter and AMSAT-DL were told by me: " Should you say yes and give to me
> the future might very well be: We have secured the launch, and oh, by the
> way it was launched yesterday and the orbital elements are.....".
> Secrecy and a guarantee of that's REQUIRED to work with the US government
> on many occasions.
> The USG is studying and is SO FAR positively considering the Phase 3E
> proposal. I'm sure you've seen that only in the last month has the bloody
> congress of the US and the president of the US have passed and signed a NEW
> BUDGET. Since this is a NEW INITIATIVE it must come from a new budget since
> it was NOT ALLOWED on a continuing resolution.
> --------------------
> On Phase 4 B, there are two entirely separate activities underway and
> while they can work together, only one needs the other.
> AMSAT raised a large pot of money and VT and AMSAT used it to pay for a
> study to convince the USAF that we would be good citizens if they carried
> our little payload in their huge spacecraft.  That study will be completed
> in January. Only then will we know that we even HAVE a mission.
> Separate from AMSAT, VT and Mike Parker KT7D and Rincon Research, Inc, the
> company he founded have undertaken the technical development of the
> spacecraft payload COMPLETELY AT RISK because we don't know the payload can
> accommodate us. That is what the study is for.
> Neither Virginia a Tech nor Rincon people are volunteers. They must be
> paid. We have decided that AMSAT has small chance of raising the millions
> it will take to do this mission, so it is now A VT MISSION with help from
> AMSAT and based on a major donation of flight hsrdware and software from
> Rincon.
> Only in the month of December did I find a couple of hams who were willing
> to risk enough money to allow us to do the technical work even though all
> of the AMSAT money, the Rincon money and the donations VT has received
> might go for nothing.
> All involved think the upside potential is so huge, the risk is worth
> taking.
> In parallel to the spacecraft payload effort, done under the cloak of
> ITAR, is another effort done out in the open and free from ITAR is an
> effort to design a inexpensive ground terminal for amateurs that would cost
> tens of thousands of dollars commercially for as much under $1000 as we can
> get it.
> We benefit from being completely open source, open specification, and
> totally free from ITAR on this ground terminal. Furthermore, since it is
> software defined radio, it is easily reprogrammed to do many different
> kinds of missions just be changing the software.
> The ground terminal effort has received generous donation of hsrdware for
> development of the system quickly from Ettus Research. AMSAT-NA wants to
> attempt to use the terminal for current and future projects so the VPE,
> Jerry Buxton, invested in a copy for use in Texas by antenna and other
> developers for both spacecraft and ground terminal pieces.
> At Virginia Tech I have four students, two members of technical staff,
>  two research faculty and our newly minted adjunct professor Tom Clark K3IO
> all now SUPPORTED to do the work but this happened IN THE WEEK JUST BEFORE
> Michelle Thompson, W5NYV is leading the development of ground terminal FOR
> PHASE4B and has volunteered to help AMSAT with ground terminal for  any
> projects Jerry wants to have AMSAT consider.
> If the payload accommodation study is successful, and if we get our
> payload ready and if we raise millions NOT FROM AMSAT SOURCES Phase 4B will
> go in late 2018 or early 2019.
> Finally, I am director of a research center at Virginia that has over 100
> students, research staff, and affiliated faculty. I started both of these
> initiatives but I have huge responsibilities and I've needed to raise money
> to pay for those to whom I'm now delegating lots of this work.
> Doing all this and running the research center (the second largest at
> Virginia Tech), has been more than a full time job. AMSAT had been consumed
> with Fox1A, -Cliff, and -D which they committed to BEFORE these
> opportunities arose. AMSAT is undergoing a true resurgence inside and this
> will translate into a major rebirth of the organization.
> As a newly minted director of AMSAT, speaking only for myself, I
> appreciate your enthusiasm for wanting these projects and in impatient as
> heck to get them up. As director of AMSAT I know I can't waive a magic wand
> and make them happen. It will take thousands of volunteer hours and your
> financial support and your cheerleading and advocacy to get them up.
> As director of research of Hume Center of Virginia Tech, it will take
> millions of dollars and dedicated paid engineers and project management
> (professional) to work with the US government to accomplish these goals.
> Finally, we are busting our hump to get things done, and we all want them
> desperately and your positive encouragement is something we all seek.
> 73s and may 2016 be as awesome as it can be,
> Bob
> N4HY
> On Saturday, December 26, 2015, Pete Parisetti <peteparisetti at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I have been sucked into a discussion that makes me feel like I have spent
>> the last six months in a coma...
>> In a nutshell:
>> Now, let me remind you of the latest developments, as seen from a casual
>> but highly interested observer like myself, and you will tell me if this
>> is
>> a sad joke or what.
>> 1) From the AMSAT newsfeed, on July 25 we learn that "AMSAT-NA, AMSAT-DL,
>> and Virginia Tech Announce Potential Phase-3E Opportunity".
>> 2) In the following months there has been absolutely NO FOLLOW-UP, no
>> information whatsoever on this potentially crucial piece of information.
>> 3) A couple of days ago, completely out of the blue, we learn that "AMSAT
>> Ground Terminal Development Expands to Texas".
>> Hello? WTF is going on here? The P3E launch opportunity has morphed into a
>> geostationary satellite (never heard a thing about that). The projct has
>> morphed from a P3E "old school" satellite into this digital monster (never
>> heard a thing about that). Things have developed to such an extent that
>> now
>> "ground terminals are being expanded"...
>> Here's a link to the thread:
>> http://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/first-amateur-radio-in-geosynchronous-orbit.505312/page-3
>> 73 HNY Pete MM0TWX
>> _______________________________________________
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>> Opinions expressed
>> are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the official views of
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> --
> Bob McGwier
> Founder, Federated Wireless, Inc
> Founder and Technical Advisor, HawkEye 360, Inc
> Research Professor Virginia Tech
> Dir. Research:  The Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and
> Technology
> Senior Member IEEE, Facebook: N4HYBob, ARS: N4HY
> Faculty Advisor Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Assn. (K4KDJ)
> Director of AMSAT

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