[amsat-bb] Re: Trolls on the -bb

Bob McGwier rwmcgwier at gmail.com
Fri Sep 4 08:34:38 PDT 2009

I have always enjoyed being told I was an idiot for not doing something 
I actually did (in this case we).  We have and I bet still are pursuing 
these opportunities. I don't know, I am on the outside looking in (by 
choice). Like all things it is always easy to say "why don't you?" 
rather than to ask "did you?" and then ask "why has it not worked?" and 
"may I be of some service?".  (Don't bother now,  you have surely pissed 
a bunch of people off).   But you were not really looking for 
information here were you?.  Having lived in a few glass houses, I 
recommend not getting into stone throwing and to  go positive.  It is 
always why don't "they" isn't it, why is that?   If you have influence 
with STP that would be good to offer.   You should probably know ahead 
of time that  the immediate past president of AMSAT worked on  and flew 
a satellite in the STP program (Midstar) and even with that level of 
connection we have gained no traction.

The "up front" buy in is very hard to get.  STP may seem like it is open 
"to all" but the reality feels a whole lot like some completely 
different than "open to all" and that some pretty sure ideas of who 
would get these rides was done ahead of time and includes but is not 
necessarily limited to the owners of Midstar and related institutions as 
being examples of the "good guys".  AMSAT not being a good guy,  we 
can't even get an invite to a meeting on how to get invited.

The general tone of the amsat-bb these days seems to be condemnation of 
failure to achieve the near impossible rather than asking for an 
accounting of why it is so difficult over and over. I see that even 
then, people will (in their understandable frustration) lash out and 
call you a bum and a liar.  Even when explanations of the difficulty are 
provided, they appear to fall on deaf ears and blind eyes.  Karl 
Meinzer, he of the "never failed to get one before" launch history,  has 
utterly failed to get a ride for P3e.  We in  amsat-na tried in all 
sorts of ways to help get this going.   We built equipment for it and 
helped in other ways  and even paid for ongoing support of housing P3e 
(done in open board meetings and I believe that every single one of the 
motions for $$ support in these board meetings was made by me).  We then 
ran head long into the HORROR of ITAR.  Please read the president's 
message here


of how it has taken years and tens of thousand of dollars in legal fees 
to just get a "you have been bad, don't be bad again or you will be 
fined and maybe clobbered".   And only after all of that can we now ask 
officially can we PLEASE go play with our friends in the amateur radio 

If at  56 I have learned anything at all  from my failures and successes 
it is that it is always better to walk a mile  in someone else's shoes 
before throwing a stone and if you cannot get anyone to listen to you,  
give up before you sound like a  shrill  moron and live to fight another 
day.  I am certain this is a lesson it is better to learn late than not 
at all.


Timothy J. Salo wrote:
> John B. Stephensen wrote:
>> P3E is a HEO with the same engine as P3D and no benefactor funding a launch. 
>> It seems more reasonable to focus on projects that we can pay to launch or 
>> where someone has already donated the launch.
> I believe that AMSAT should at least consider using the DoD
> Space Test Program (STP), which provides launches for satellites
> of interest to the federal government.  In fact, the STP has
> already launched a number of amateur satellites.  Of course, HEO
> launches will still be hard to come by.  But, I think it is
> pretty clear that amateurs can't afford an HEO launch, so we
> ought to at least try to find someone else to pay for it.
> But, in order to get the government to pay, we need to tell
> a story that the government is interested in.  In my view,
> the federal government is most likely to fund at least two
> types of projects:
> o Projects that develop the next generation of space
>    scientists and engineers.  (This is a large part of the
>    reason NASA funds ARISS and SAREX activities.  I think
>    this is also why the Naval Academy stuff gets launched.)
> o Research projects.  Note that AO-40 actually flew a NASA
>    GPS experiment that resulted in at least one journal
>    article.  Unfortunately, no one seems to want to talk
>    about research experiments that have flown on, and often
>    subsidized, amateur satellites (much less display this
>    information prominently on the AMSAT Web pages).
> Perhaps more importantly, I don't believe that the federal
> government is likely to fund us primarily to provide
> emergency communications.  There are simply too many other
> alternatives available today: satellite phones,
> cellular-base-stations-on-a-truck, and lots of fixed and
> portable satellite ground stations.
> If you have an interest in this topic, you might want to read
> my DoD Space Test Program paper.  (Unlike most AMSAT Symposium
> presentations, it is available on the Internet.  But, that is
> another difficult topic for AMSAT...)
> But, to be able to successfully tell these stories, AMSAT
> needs to attract new classes of members, particularly
> today's and tomorrow's engineers, scientists, and technically
> curious.  And, to attract these new classes of members, I
> believe that AMSAT will need to update some of its views.
> The Web is vitally important: it is probably the dominant
> portion of AMSAT's public face seen by prospective members
> and prospective funding agencies.  For example, all the
> excellent material published in the Journal would benefit
> AMSAT much more if it was available on the Web.
> By the way, the AFRL University Nanosatellite Program (UNP)
> Web site [!] says that 3,500 students have participated in
> the program over the last decade.  Every one of these
> young people has a demonstrated interest in building satellites.
> AMSAT ought to consider every one of them a prospective member
> and volunteer.
> (I also believe that many of these types of prospective
> members that AMSAT needs in order to be successful expect
> a voluntary organization like AMSAT to operate transparently,
> and for its directors and officers to be able to discuss the
> organization in public in a professional manner.  Does
> anyone else think that it is ironic that discussions about
> the future of AMSAT are categorized under "troll"?)
> -tjs
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