Rocky Jones wrote:
As for AO-40. It failed for the same reason that suitsat 1 did, and for the same reason that a lot of people who build their own airplane kill themselves every year trying to "test fly it"....the project got to big for the organization that was building it...ie their technical competence was insufficient for the task at hand.
But in your view (at least as best as I understand it) that evaluation should not be made because "at least they tried".
sorry I dont buy that logic
I'm not quite sure who is quoting whom, i.e. if the quote above is by Rocky, who sent the email, or Dan, who is mentioned above the quotation that I excerpted, or by Robert, who seems to have signed it.
In any case, irrespective of who wrote it, the gist of it is getting under my skin...
"As for AO-40. It failed..." (because) "...the project got to (sic) big for the organization that was building it...ie (sic) their technical competence was insufficient for the task at hand"
Spelling and grammar aside (or maybe small details REALLY ARE important? -- just a random thought), it is hard to disagree logically with the fundamental principle. In less inflammatory terms, a bunch of amateurs who were not really rocket scientists tried to build a satellite, and they weren't able to pull it off 100% successfully because they tried to do more than they were qualified to do.
Nevertheless, does this mean that we should: a) never try to do something harder than what we KNOW in advance that we are capable of accomplishing?
b) never make mistakes, even though the only way to guarantee that you will never do anything WRONG is by DOING NOTHING AT ALL?
c) LEARN from our mistakes and try again?
Personally, I vote for number 3. Note that choice #3 doesn't say "keep repeating our mistakes", it says "LEARN from them" and implies that when we try again, we do so in a manner wherein we are better prepared than we were the time before.
OK. I am mad as hell that someone failed to notice the bright red (or was it yellow) flag attached to a port cap that clearly said "REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT", and caused the AO-40 propulsion system to self-destruct when activated. But dang it all, people should stop carping about the number, complexity, and even frequencies of the transponders that were placed aboard AO-40, because NONE of that had ANYTHING to do with the reason it failed. In fact, as I've said before, and has fallen on deaf ears before (or maybe it's on blind eyes), the COMPLEXITY of AO-40 is what SAVED it at all, made it usable at all, for the short time we had her around to enjoy. One transponder is blown up, switch over to a different one. Etc.
Call the AMSAT builders "incompetent" as many times as you want, it does not change one ugly fact. If you want a high earth orbit satellite (and I most certainly DO), IT MUST BE A COMPLEX DEVICE. ROCKET PROPULSION SYSTEMS ARE COMPLEX, BEST UNDERSTOOD BY ROCKET SCIENTISTS, AND YOU WILL NEVER GET TO H.E.O. WITHOUT ONE.
So, either stop whining that you want an H.E.O. satellite, or stop whining about wanting a satellite that is not complex. We either get the training/education/experience that allows us to "get it right", or we abandon the task and take up knitting. Or we keep stumbling around in the dark making lots of expensive mistakes. But as Scottie told Captain Kirk, "I'm sorry captain! I canna change the laws of physics!" A satellite in high earth orbit is a complex device.
And talk about having their heads inserted into their anal orifices, we have people saying, in essence, "you people are too stupid to make a complex high-earth-orbit satellite work", and at the same time, "you people are foolish to invest any energy into educating students about satellite technology", or even worse, "you are foolish to try to take students who are already interested in satellite technology and get them excited about the possibility of using that technology for non-commercial (i.e., AMATEUR) radio communications". Give me a break. Maybe one of those folks, a REAL rocket scientist, will someday be the person who leads us amateurs to success.
It all boils down to this. There is a nearly infinite number of non-productive choices that do not further the cause of progress. There are three fundamental choices that DO lead to progress: 1) LEAD 2) FOLLOW 3) GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY AND LET SOMEONE ELSE DO IT
73 de WØJT