[amsat-bb] Re: please be positive

Andrew Glasbrenner glasbrenner at mindspring.com
Tue Sep 1 20:26:54 PDT 2009

Let me address this one paragraph.
> I will give you an example... The only energies I see being spent at this
> time and projected into the future are for more LEOS of one kind or 
> another.

The AMSAT engineering task force was involved with a detailed proposal put 
together by Tom Clark for a GEO rideshare package last year. Unfortunately 
that did not work out, but it did lead us to develop a modular construction 
strategy where we may be able to quickly respond to some opportunity. Any 
effort put into a LEO package has direct applications to a HEO spacecraft, 
or educational aspects, or usually both.

> The argument I have seen advanced is that this is because it is all we can
> do... It would seem to me there would be a HEO project moving along (under
> design at least) against the day that this becomes a possibility.

Let me remind you that AMSAT-DL has a 90% constructed HEO waiting for a way 
to pay for a launch. Until they find and pay for a launch, they don't have a 
viable HEO program either. Unfortunately, and this is my opinion, I believe 
the size and shape of that HEO severely restricts how it can get to orbit. 
I'm not criticizing the German effort, I support it. I merely am pointing 
out a problem that we must avoid. We do indeed learn as we go.

As an example of the issue: Say we have our physical Eagle spacecraft which 
has been through 3 or 4 iterations, but damn it we built it anyways. Let's 
say we replicated AO-13, like P3E. So we manage to find a few million to 
launch as a secondary and we decide ULA is the launch agency. Take a look at 
http://www.ulalaunch.com/docs/product_sheet/SmallSpacecraftProductCard.pdf . 
Would our spacecraft fit in anything other than the largest, most expensive 
space? Did we design it to take the G forces of launch while stowed 
vertically, horizontally, or inverted? What seperation system did we build 
into the spacecraft? Does it even fit in the space allowed? This problem is 
present no matter the launch vehicle or agency.

Many of us have come to the conclusion that it is a bit fruitless to build a 
spacecraft without knowing the size, shape and orientation of the ride we 
are taking to orbit. That's why we are developing a modular approach to be 
able to react quickly, with space proven hardware even, to a short fuse 
opportunity to LEO, HEO, MEO, or GEO.

> whenever someone mentions a HEO, rather than being encouraged to join a
> discussion group, a plans and engineering group or something of this ilk, 
> I
> see the denigration begin. To me it is this short sighted and to my way of
> thinking, stifling mindset that is AMSATS largest shortcoming and perhaps
> even its downfall. Perhaps there is a planning group for a HEO, but if so,
> it is well hid.

AMSAT-BB is a giant discussion group. Talk about related items as much as 
you want. Identify some launch or funding opportunities. Write a paper for 
the symposium. If your ideas are good, you do what you say you will do, and 
you are a team player, sooner or later you will find yourself asked to 
participate at higher and higher levels. Listen, I own stock in Ford, drive 
three different Ford vehicles, but I know that I'm not going to get to 
design the next F150 just because I had a comment on an email list. I'm not 
trying to be flippant, I just am pointing out that you have to actively 
prove yourself to be part of that level of volunteering for AMSAT. I didn't 
go from suggesting ideas on the -bb right to the BOD or a VP slot. I busted 
tail at hamfests for years, hawking books and t-shirts and doing the Arrow 
dance. We always need active Area Coordinators. I didn't like what I saw 
happening with the first version of the Echo Ops group, and got volunteered 
after showing up at a BOD meeting and making a strong argument for a better 
way. For two years I helped with scheduling and events, and when Mike 
resigned I was asked to do the job of VP Ops. I did that for a time before 
deciding to run for the BOD. I've picked up other responsibilities here and 
there when no one else would do them or when I was the best qualified (I 
think that's happened once!). That is how you make things happen in AMSAT, 
and that is the type of volunteers we need more of.

Nothing in AMSAT is well hid. Something may be lost from time to time, but 
never hid. To be hid means it was done intentionally. Sometimes there just 
isn't enough volunteers to go around.

Enough for tonight. I hope I've managed to express at least some of my views 
on the topic. What I've said may not match up 100% with AMSAT policy, but 
there it is.

73, Drew KO4MA 

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