On Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 1:51 PM, Rocky Jones[email protected] wrote:
On Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 10:35:29PM -0500, Rocky Jones wrote:
Bruce...so we are doing satellites now for their educational not communicative value?
-- Jeff, KE9V
because if we do satellites for educational purposes then the effort is non sustainable.
I wonder what you and others think of my contention that this is a false dichotomy. Must it be impossible for a satellite to have both a communication and a educative role in some proportion? Similarly, does not something like Delfi C3 have combined research and communication roles? While smaller Cubesat projects educate their builders and groundstation crews, but provide us amateurs with new challenges: during COMPASS's troubles a year ago, I was thrilled to be entrusted, like the rest of us in AMSAT, with the responsibilities of a command station.
you can already see that in the trends in the US. the most popular birds (the FM birds) are ones for whom commercial equipment from the antenna to the radio is available and is relatively user friendly. the more "esoteric" the communication platform gets the less used it is. The less people who can use a platform then the less people there are to contribute to building new ones...and the less people there are then the less likely it is that manufactors will build equipment which will allow more people to use the platform.
It is a negative feedback in a gain loop and to use a phrase "the oscillation" stops.
I can't see how this theory accounts for the prevalence of linear transponders in the upcoming satellites: Kiwisat, Funsat, etc. It ought to predict that these birds would focus on FM alone, and in high power.
That is what makes the decisions on AO 40 so lame. Instead of building a satellite which would provide Oscar 10/13 communications (with maybe something at 2.4 ghz which could become reliable) they had to go build a super sat which was going to do things that were simply out of reach of all but a very few hams (40ghz? or whatever it was) .. it got more and more complicated, obviously to complicated for the people who were building it...and now it and the money that built it are gone.
Concentrating on the future, it should be reiterated here that the money to build satellites is not what we lack; it is the money now required to launch to HEO. P3E is well in hand, as I understand it; but the $10m is nowhere in sight. What we lost in AO-40 was the last free ride.
I'll bet you money that if the truth came out, what happened with Suitsat 2 and the suits is that the project grew so "complicated" that the folks building it just missed various deadlines ie they couldnt get the thing built. Who knows if they will be able to meet the next deadline (ie for a 2010 early lift) of if it will work or not, the first one a much simpler system was a pretty solid failure.
I'm afraid we again take the opposite view of these matters. Even if your opinion of the timeline were correct, I would prefer that we do something innovative and something which will form that basis for our further work in space at the cost of complete timeliness. Moreover, I find it rather frustrating that you conclude your discussion with an assessment that SS-1 was a 'failure' when my previous letter was meant to indicate that from one standpoint, education, and in one locale, mine, it was most decidedly not.
If "educating our youth" (a tired NASA phrase) starts becoming the foundation for anything in ham radio...then before long we will find there is no ham radio. This of course follows NASA in general. They have failed to make human spaceflight relevant to the rest of America in anything but pretty tired phrases...and if you have not noticed there are big changes ahead.
I think we can set aside this dire prediction because AMSAT has not declared 'educating our youth' as its foundation. However much I enjoy discussing satellites with young people, I'm not sure I would endorse it formally doing so. Returning to the idea that our projects have many complementary purposes, perhaps we can just agree that this is a worthy activity among many that our AMSAT dues and gifts support in some measure and that some of us pursue more vigorously than others?
I appreciate the opportunity to discuss these matters openly and in a friendly manner, Robert.
73, Bruce VE9QRP