[amsat-bb] P3E / P5A projects @ AMSAT-DL

Andy Kellner hawat1 at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 11 23:54:54 PST 2012

>From the amsat-dl website:

"Following preliminary work the formal go-ahead was given in 2002 by AMSAT-DL for the P5A Mars probe. 
It should begin its nine-month journey during launch windows in 2009 or 2011. Before then AMSAT-DL will 

launch the P3E communications satellite with many test elements for the Mars mission."

"Many mechanical and electrical elements for the P3-E Satellite are ready to fly, or being finalized shortly. After the proper tests under space conditions (i.e. temperature tests in a vacuum chamber and vibration tests), AMSAT P3-E is ready for launch in Summer 2007."  (Viele mechanische und elektrische Elemente für den P3-E Satelliten sind 
bereits flugfertig oder stehen kurz vor Ihrer Fertigstellung. Nach 
entsprechenden Härtetests unter Weltraumbedingungen (z.B. Temperaturtest in einer Vakuum-Kammer und Vibrationstest) steht AMSAT P3-E dann ab 
Sommer 2007 für einen Start bereit.) [Translated from German into English by me]

Well here we are in 2012 and there is not even the hint of an idea if/when/how P3-E might be launched. Somebody posted earlier that the earliest even remote possibility for a launch with Ariane-V will be 2018 ? The satellite itself is far from completion due to what ? Lack of funding, interest, qualified people to work on ? And yet Amsat-DL is planning to work on a MARS (!) mission since 2002, with a launch window in 2007, with a P3E launch _before_ that ?

I mean, I am all for great goals and bringing research forward and all. But maybe sometimes, somebody must admit that the goals set are a bit to ambitious ? In 2002 things might have looked a bit more positive, but today one could consider P5A nothing more then a pipe dream and even P3E fairly unrealistic ? Things have changed, researching, building, testing and launching of 150 kg HEO satellites (and interplanetary spacecraft for that manner) have become so expensive and time consuming that it seems unrealistic for a hobby-club to take on such a task.

You can think of Amsat-NA what you want, but at least they have acknowledged the sign of times: Get a cheap, small, basic FM LEO in orbit now - Not because its the best solution for the amateur radio community, but because this is something which can _done_.

I wish all the amsat organizations around the globe would line up behind one common goal and put all their efforts and resources behind that. Something which can be done in a somewhat reasonable time frame. Too bad that there are too many big ego's and politics involved to actually make that happen.

Just my 2 c

Andreas - VK4HHH 

 From: Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) <amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net>
To: amsat-bb at amsat.org 
Sent: Sunday, 12 February 2012 11:00 AM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: ANS-041 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin
Hi Kevin!

>   P3E is off in the future, I don't even think the sat is close to ready to
> launch,
> and then you have the launch itself to consider, I want P3E also but I also
> understand its not going to be soon.

That's been a question of mine, and a question asked of me in the
recent past.  When someone asks me "Should I build my satellite
station to work with HEO satellites now?", my answer is usually
"Don't worry about it, until we have one in orbit".

Until that day comes, I'm going to have fun working our current
satellites - in FM, SSB, and occasionally CW.  When, or if, an
HEO is launched, then I'll gladly reequip my station to work that
as well.

I remember seeing that at the AMSAT-UK Colloquium last year, the
P3E launch cost was quoted as 10 million euros. One thing I have
never been able to clearly determine is how much of that 10 million
euros has been raised.  I know I can buy pixels on that picture that
has been on the AMSAT-DL web page for a long time, but I expect
there has been more raised than just what we see on that picture.
Can anyone connected with AMSAT-DL answer?  That would help
to put the P3E fundraising effort into some context.

AMSAT-NA has the PayPal widgets that started out with one that
was for ARISSat-1 and Fox, and now there's a Fox-only widget on
the AMSAT web site and in other places (like my QRZ.com entries
and web page).  I know there has been more $$$ donated to
AMSAT than just what shows up on the PayPal widget, and I hope
that combined total is publicized shortly - and then publicized on
a regular basis.  The PayPal widget for the Fox project (not the one
that was for ARISSat-1 and Fox) has increased by 1/3 in the past
24 hours since the announcement of the NASA decision.

>    On the other hand FOX is NOW we have a means of getting into space,which
> is the biggest hurdle, so it needs funding NOW to get completed and on that
> ride.

I agree 100%.  I've already made a couple of contributions, and I'm
hoping AMSAT is able to deliver Fox-1 to NASA for that launch. :-)

Projects like FUNcube and KiwiSAT have also done a good job of
publicizing what they have been doing and their needs - financial
or otherwise.  I've contributed to them, and - in the case of
KiwiSAT - made multiple contributions.  I'm all for not putting all of
our eggs in one basket.  More satellites would be a good thing.



Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program!
Subscription settings: http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb

More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list