With a little ingenuity, including choice of licensing country, we can have legal digital gateway stations. Operating rules can be changed if necessary, although we have to stay within license regulations. I didn't say that such stations would be cheap, although such a network would cost a lot less than trying to build our own HEO. As a point of reference, AO-40 cost about $5 million in today's dollars, roughly half of which was raised by AMSAT-NA and ARRL. It was my bad luck to be acting president of AMSAT-NA during the failure and partial recovery of AO-40. I'll never forget the great work done to get it back in operation, and those who did it. I hope we'll never have to go through something like that again, but after all it IS rocket science.
73 Ray W2RS