[amsat-bb] AMSAT UK P3E Lecture HEO vs GEO. and AMSAT-NA Priorities

Joe Westbrook k7zt at suddenlink.net
Mon Aug 11 15:06:07 PDT 2008

So regarding risk, how many HEO Satellites has AMSAT-NA launched that
required firing a rocket motor to achieve a Molniya Orbit?
 It seems that AMSAT-DL has the lead on that front, additionally, the
gentleman that did the PE3 Presentation at the AMSAT-UK Symposium indicated
that PE3 uses the same platform as AO10 and AO13, and has been tested.  At
least we have a more predictable risk.  I took a look at the Satellite
history and it appears that the HEO Flights were all joint ventures with
AMSAT-NA and AMSAT-DL.  I recall a great deal of publicity in QST
surrounding the AO40 launch including fund raising activities. Why don't we
observe the same level of commitment that we had for those projects from
AMSAT-NA Leadership?.

AO40 provided extraordinary opportunities for the satellite experimenter, it
wasn't that difficult and was great deal of fun. Additionally, it did push
the operator to work on improving their station for weak signal work.
Remember all of the great AO40 how to web sites that popped up?
Lots of home brew projects! Lots of pictures of stations!
 How many of those are out there for AO51?

I believe for those who endeavored to develop hardware and software 
furthered the science.   I constructed many different antennas and feeds 
learned a
great deal all in my back yard with minimal investment using "arm strong" , 
home-brew az-el  set up.

Regarding GEO vs. HEO, I would argue that in terms of the overall
experience, there are significant differences that boil down to the
1.  GEO isn't a moving target
2.  HEO has a weaker signal
3.  With GEO, the antenna is locked down to a fixed Az-EL. No Doppler, no
need to synchronize the orbit or to integrate software applications.

I would challenge you to tell me how GEO wouldn't be an appliance. What's 
once you mount your Downconverter, feed, LNA, etc, bring it to your xcvr,
short of tuning across the transponder to find a clear frequency to call CQ,
or to locate a contact what's left to do?  I agree that GEO would be great
for emergencies, nets, and long rag chews on what  will be extremely crowded 
xponder space.
Additionally, I think that you would agree that the skill level and overall 
experience is diminished. But
that's just me.

All I'm saying is allow the membership vote on how AMSAT-NA resources should
be used, I don't mean to suggest we vote on the type of RX to use, but on 
the overall project.
It is my belief that most members wouldn't want resources diverted to a GEO 
Project before an HEO Project is fully deployed.
If we loose sight of the main goal, this process could go on for years.
To be successful, AMSAT-NA needs a narrow focus as it has very little in the 
way of resources, both human and financial.

I would be satisfied if AMSAT-NA would simply articulate a clear set of
goals and priorities, hell even use the survey that was accomplished in 04.
Communicate these goals to the members at large and finally stand by them.
If at the end of the day those goals are not what the members want, then
they can vote with their wallets.

- Joe K7ZT

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John B. Stephensen" <kd6ozh at comcast.net>
To: "Joe Westbrook" <k7zt at suddenlink.net>; "Luc Leblanc"
<lucleblanc6 at videotron.ca>; <eu-amsat at yahoogroups.com>
Cc: <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 12:12 PM
Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] Re: [eu-amsat] AMSAT UK P3E Lecture Available

> Since AMSAT-DL and AMSAT-NA both require funding from outside the amateur
> radio community, are going after different sources of funding, and neither
> can predict when they will get that funding, having two efforts would seem
> to double the opportunity for a non-LEO satellite.
> I don't think that the risk decreases with P3E. 50% of P3 satellites were
> lost due to failures of engines in the launch vehicle or in the satellite.
> I don't see how having a linear transponder in a geostationary orbit
> versus a Molniya orbit makes it an appliance satellite. The antennas and
> transceivers on ground are the same in either case.
> 73,
> John
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Joe Westbrook" <k7zt at suddenlink.net>
> To: "John B. Stephensen" <kd6ozh at comcast.net>; "Luc Leblanc"
> <lucleblanc6 at videotron.ca>; <eu-amsat at yahoogroups.com>
> Cc: <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
> Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2008 16:32 UTC
> Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: [eu-amsat] AMSAT UK P3E Lecture Available
>> John:
>> Yes, you may have heard statements like in the past we've relied on
>> charity,
>> and Amateur Radio Operators alone can not fund a launch, what you haven't
>> heard are any solutions for launching any HEOs.  It seems that the DL
>> folks
>> haven't lost that as a focus, they acknowledge that as expensive as it is
>> to
>> launch an HEO, it is still doable. 3 - 4M Euros $4 - 5M at least they
>> gave
>> us a tangible figure we can work with.  This amount may be a reach for
>> AMSAT-NA alone, but given that we finally understand what it would take
>> to
>> make a HEO Launch reality, then why wouldn't we shift ALL funding toward
>> that effort?    Following the PE3 launch, if  any surplus remains, the
>> surplus could be transferred to the next HEO opportunity (Eagle).  If no
>> surplus remains then at least we would have one working HEO deployed.
>> Additionally, at least we know the PE3 platform is well vetted, and would
>> have the lowest risk.  Rather than spending time and resources on a new,
>> untested platform why wouldn't we just facilitate PE3 FIRST?
>> Ok, I'll speech for myself here, but the GEO ride-share simply isn't an
>> opportunity that will interest the HEO crowd.  Launching an appliance to
>> serve the disaster response community and entry level satellite users
>> won't
>> do a thing to satisfy the need for a HEO.  I don't care if it's free,
>> like
>> AO51, I would probably get on it, make a couple contacts say "that's
>> nice"
>> and be done with it.  Please understand, I'm not saying to abandon GEO as
>> a
>> viable option, just don't spend a cent on it until we launch an HEO.
>> What we need is a satellite that enables the real sprit and intent of the
>> Amateur Radio Service, to push the envelop of the technology, allow for
>> experimentation, consider all of the alternative antenna solutions that
>> our
>> resourceful community developed to receive the 2.4Gig Down Link. No
>> rotator
>> required, different feed systems, a fairly modest resource outlay to get
>> on
>> the air.  I did it with a totally home brewed system in a restricted
>> neighborhood back yard. Had a blast and learned allot.
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "John B. Stephensen" <kd6ozh at comcast.net>
>> To: "Luc Leblanc" <lucleblanc6 at videotron.ca>; <eu-amsat at yahoogroups.com>
>> Cc: <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
>> Sent: Friday, August 08, 2008 3:14 PM
>> Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: [eu-amsat] AMSAT UK P3E Lecture Available
>>> I've been hearing these two statments from AMSAT-NA officals for at
>>> least
>>> 2
>>> years -- in person and on this BB.
>>> 73,
>>> John
>>> KD6OZH
>>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>>> From: "Luc Leblanc" <lucleblanc6 at videotron.ca>
>>>> Very nice presentations. One attract my attention was made by Peter
>>>> Guelzow DB2OS one one of his slide we can read:
>>>> AND
>>>> I don't how to explain how all the wisdom and reality knowledge seems
>>>> to
>>>> be concentrated in Europe when speaking about amateur satellite?
>>> _______________________________________________
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>> _______________________________________________
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