[amsat-bb] ANS-199 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin - AMSAT Fox-1C Launch Opportunity Announced

Phil Karn karn at ka9q.net
Sat Jul 19 22:48:03 UTC 2014

On 07/19/2014 03:32 PM, Jerry Buxton wrote:

> But you arguing about something that has already happened.  That makes
> no sense.

None of the Fox satellites have yet flown, so they haven't "already

> Why did the U.S. go back to the moon so many times?  I don't know. But
> we did, and that is done.  You could argue now that it had been done
> before, why did we do it over and over, it was the same old thing.  That
> doesn't change the facts.

Good analogy, actually. They returned to the moon six times (succeeding
on five) because they had excess hardware originally built in the
expectation that the first attempts would fail.

And when they did return, they began to do some serious scientific
exploration that made it worthwhile. Unfortunately, the public *did* see
this as "the same old thing" and Congress quickly withdrew support. As
everyone knows, NASA canceled the last three Apollo lunar missions and
humans haven't left earth orbit since Apollo 17. (Strictly speaking,
even Apollo never left earth orbit, since the moon orbits the earth.)

Yet NASA has always managed to find support for new and interesting
things in space even without a human presence. The two keys to public
interest have always been 1) exploration and 2) photography.

Apollo certainly did that in its time. More recently, stunning pictures
from the surface of Mars and of the moons and backlit rings of Saturn
have done much to keep NASA going even as it flails aimlessly in its
human program. Sure, the ISS returns some pretty good pictures of earth
but so do many robotic spacecraft. And the ISS certainly isn't exploring
much of space from only 400 km up. That's why most people don't find it
very exciting.

> Both universities that I am working with are building amateur radio
> ground stations and interesting the students in becoming hams.  We all
> benefit from that.  And some other universities want to fly an ADAC
> system.  We may benefit from that on Fox-2.

I'm hearing privately that many university groups really are after us
for only our spectrum. Or our spectrum plus a ready-made
telecommunications system they can use for their purposes without having
to worry about the details. I actually don't oppose this categorically
as some do, but I insist on *some* benefit back to the amateur service,
such as an interesting new communications system to experiment with and
to learn from. Some aren't even willing to go that far.


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