[amsat-bb] Re: All Satellites

Mark VandeWettering kf6kyi at gmail.com
Fri Sep 25 17:49:38 PDT 2009

> Good point. Not everybody is interested in monitoring the one way
> downlinks on the majority of these more recent birds. Why is it that
> there is no problem getting large numbers of these types of satellites
> into orbit, yet good old fashioned two way linear and FM transponder
> birds are relatively far and few between?

> Regards and 73,
>    James - ZL4JM/VK5JC

Well, after the launch of AO-51 here in the U.S., the AMSAT membership
seemed to think that they should concentrate their efforts on a HEO launch.
The problem is that there really aren't any viable launch options for HEO
satellites.   We aren't alone either:  P3E is considerably further along than
any of the AMSAT-NA projects, and yet has no hint of how it might get
boosted to orbit.

Cubesats are being launched for one simple reason: people have figured
out how to fund low mass sats to low earth orbit.   We could probably
launch a couple dozen LEO cubesats (or more) for what it would cost
to put just one payload into HEO, but nobody seems to really be interested
in doing that, since it won't give anyone the DX that they want.  I think
there have been some interesting developments in micro propulsion
technologies, but it is still challenging to get a cubesat in orbit that can
serve as a transponder within the weight and space limitations that
cubesats have.

Perhaps when commercial vehicles like the Falcon 9 begin launching,
we'll see a sufficient reduction in payload boosting costs to make
raising the money for a HEO satellite with significant mass reasonable.
We shall have to see.

Mark K6HX

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