[amsat-bb] Charge for Satellite Tracking?

Carl Rimmer W8KRF w8krf at w8krf.net
Tue Nov 1 13:01:33 PDT 2011


Thank you for giving us a better perspective on what it is like to be involved in these sorts of projects.  I, for one, really appreciate all you guys do and I am having a blast trying to track and decode the telemetry.  I have not been very successful but one is never too old to learn, and I am learning a lot.  Keep up the good work and I wish you all the success in the world at whatever path your professional career takes you.

To the rest of you, especially all the whiners:

I have included Anthony's posting just in case any of your missed it.  Read it over and over and over until you understand what this is really all about.  Have fun!


*Carl W8KRF

*Message: 20
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2011 01:26:40 -0700
From: KE7OSN<ke7osn at arrl.net>
To:amsat-bb at amsat.org
Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Charge for Satellite Tracking?
	<CACPGSd-WQqRhDxGBU9aSs9O4jNQXVYtRx+eu2oRrfciWpvAtOw at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

I think having stations set up to do that ranging would be neat to have if
nothing else for an education opportunity.

As a student working on building and launching one of these little
nano-satellites I would like to see one thing cleared up. These are NOT
University satellites, they are student satellites. They are designed and
built by students, funded through grants and donations arranged by
students. Universities provide little more then an framework
for organizing these sorts of projects. So if the university is going to
chip in to some fund on behalf of those helping track the satellites, then
it would be really nice for them to through some money at the building of
the satellites. At my school the department sponsoring our project has to
pay the university rent for the space we take up in a building "owned" by
the department for a project made up entirely of tuition paying students.
We may only pay around $7-15K in tuition, and another $5-10K in housing,
food, books, etc. but most of us if we are lucky can make about half our
yearly costs from summer jobs or internships. The rest we scrounge for
scholarships and grants. We put in around 20 hours a week into class and
labs, another 15-40 in other school work. What little free time we have we
spend in research labs instead of watching TV, or drinking. We spend a lot
of that time trying to keep the project funded to a level that allows us to
continue. We are very aware of how much it costs to construct a station to
track satellites, and to build the satellites, and to launch the
satellites. If we are able to bring in any extra money we spend that right
back into the students we have putting 20 hours a week that they could and
probably should spend on something outside of school. We devote years into
these little boxes of electronics, in the hope that it will someday fly in
space. We reach out and connect with other students doing the same thing,
we congratulate them for their successes, and console them on their losses.
I personally was up all night watching this latest launch as one of the
cubes (E1P) was to have been launch on the Glory mission in march which
failed to reach orbit. It is now on orbit and doing fine, M-Cubed however
seams to be having issues and I will track it every chance I get to help
that team understand what is going on.

I got into nano-satellites by first being a HAM, and if I have my way
anything I put into orbit will be switched over to a BBS, APRS digi, or
even voice repeater when the scientific mission is done.  That time may not
come in the operational life span of the satellite and it is very important
that it complete the mission that someone has generously paid for. If
nothing else then I hope what I learn from this endeavor will serve to
further the collective understanding of something.

I attend a state school as a student of Mechanical Engineering, I have been
dumpster diving for parts, I carry two rolls of duct tape, I find a hammer
can fix many problems, I have spent hours building things to replace tools
I either cannot afford, or cannot afford to wait for. The moral is that
these aren't multi-million dollar projects with blank checks, these are
shoestring operations that have to take things one step at a time. If you
don't want to help out the next generation of aerospace engineers and
rocket scientists that's up to you. We won't turn down help, but many of us
have grown to expect nothing from anyone. We will build a ladder so we can
through our satellite into orbit if we have to.

I'm sorry if I seam over passionate or long winded, but please keep in mind
that I have watched for several years as budgets have been cut, my tuition
and living expenses goes up, and my income and financial-aid remain the
same. It is like a broken record (yes I know what records are) to hear
people complain about a short term inconvenience and offer a solution that
threatens long term progress.

Anthony Odenthal
President Amateur Radio Club at OSU


More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list