[amsat-bb] Re: HEO launch possible???

Bruce Robertson ve9qrp at gmail.com
Tue Dec 16 07:33:11 PST 2008

On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 6:41 AM, Luc Leblanc <lucleblanc6 at videotron.ca> wrote:
> Hi satellite fans
> Just came out of a bad dream tonight after reading this Ariane 5 announcement?
> "The 186th Ariane mission will launch two communications satellites, primarily
> intended for direct TV broadcast services and data networks: HOT BIRDTM 9 and W2M,
> both for Eutelsat.
> This will be the 42nd Ariane 5 launch.
> The launcher will be carrying a total payload of 9,220 kg, including 8,340 kg for the
> two satellites, which will be released separately into their targeted orbits."
> Just note The 9220Kg payload and theses Ariane 5 figures
> LEO Payload* (28.5 deg., 550 km)        GTO Payload* (7 deg. inclination)
> 39,600 lb 18,000 kg                             (single / dual manifest) 15,000 lb / 13,160 lb 6,800 kg / 5,970 kg
> Configuration
> Core + 2 SRB + Aestus Second Stage
> Launch Mass
> 1,570,000 lb
> 710,000 kg
> Estimated Launch Price US $120 M
> * Performance provided by Arianespace.
> There is room for a 150kg amateur HEO satellite and at an US$169 per kilo a 150Kg mass should cost US $25350!!!
> I'm not too quick in calculus but how the +_ millions USD P3E and EAGLE launch cost came from? integration work? shipping and handling?
> I know that at the top of a Ponzi pyramid numbers added very fast but even with the worst case scenario there is something who's not added
> up correctly here?
> The killing question is: Is the actual P3E and EAGLE launch issues are really a financial matter? and those very high HEO launch cost
> estimates are hiding something else?
> If you want to see where i got theses figures go to:
> http://www.spaceandtech.com/spacedata/elvs/ariane5_specs.shtml


This is interesting information, as always. In my opinion, your
presentation of it is marred by the too-rapid accusation of illegal
activity. My impression is the contrary: that AMSAT has benefited from
the hard work of well-informed and well-placed volunteers, who have
nonetheless been unable to find a workable price for a HEO launch in
today's market.  So perhaps there is another explanation for the
discrepancy you observe.

I remember that the 1-kg cubesat launches cost roughly $40,000, and
that this is considered an incredibly low price. This makes me suspect
that determining the launch cost by long division only, to derive your
$25,000, might not be sufficient.

I think it is very important that, as an organization, we do not
become upset with those who attempt to find HEO/GEO opportunities and
bring back bad news to us. I'll put this more broadly: I think the
biggest threat to AMSAT today is not the lack of launch opportunities,
but rather the bitterness and consequential unwarranted recriminations
that come from our thwarted ambitions.

73, Bruce

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