[amsat-bb] Re: Phase 3 Express Launch Opportunities?

Daniel Schultz n8fgv at usa.net
Fri Jan 27 13:38:53 PST 2012

Dwight & Lisa Dopilka wrote:

>Despite the increased cost to launch a Phase 3E class >spacecraft into a GTO
type orbit it would seem a
>multitude of launchers are possibilities such as:

>1. Molniya 8K78 launch vehicles from Plesetsk and >Baikonur. I believe
several dozens of Molniya 1, 2,
>and 3 series have been launch since 1965. This launch
>would be ideal and no propulsive component would be needed.

I am not aware of secondary launch capacity on this rocket, but if you have
connections in the Russian space program, fell free to pursue this.

>2. China's Long March

Serious ITAR problems...

>3. India's GSLV

Less serious ITAR problems, there is an active Amsat group in India, maybe it
can happen if they can find the right connections.

>4. Japan's H-IIA

Ask JAMSAT about possibility of launching on Japanese vehicles. It has been
done in the past.

>5. Space-X Falcon 9

Space-X prefers to deal through third party brokers for secondary launches of
small satellites, so be prepared to pay for the middleman's cut. Secondary
payload launch prices on Falcon will start at around $10 million and go up
from there, or so I am told.

>6. Ariane 5 ME debut 2018

Ariane is now fully commercial, they won't give us a free ride when they can
sell that ride for a few million dollars or euros. Amsat-DL has not been able
to get an Ariane launch for Phase 3E, which is all but ready to go. The people
who helped us get free launches in the past are now retired or deceased, and
the new generation of Ariane management is committed to full cost accounting,
so that no one rides for free anymore.

>Also, what happen to the rideshare option?

Many Amsat people, including myself, have attended rideshare meetings for
years. Everybody in the rideshare business knows about Amsat and that we are
looking for a cheap ride. The trouble is that in today's world small
satellites are useful for many commercial and military purposes, and those
guys can raise the $10 or $20 million to pay the actual integration cost of
adding a secondary payload to a launch vehicle. There was a time way back
when, when small satellites were thought to be toys with no useful purpose,
that hams could "bolt one on" for free. Amsat proved to the world that small
satellites are useful and valuable, and now everybody wants to build and
launch them. We are priced out of the market that we helped to create. Ironic
isn't it...

We are working, mostly behind the scenes, on stuff we can't usually talk about
until it happens. We are working hard to find launch and mission partners for
Amsat. I for one do not wish to be launching Cubesats for the rest of my

Dan Schultz N8FGV

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