On Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 11:51:19AM -0500, Rocky Jones wrote:
because if we do satellites for educational purposes then the effort is non sustainable.
Your logic is flawed in several places here.
First of all, you are making the same mistake as many on this BB that whatever choices that we have are somehow "options".
Given the "option" we would build several million dollar satellites and then spend $8 million US a piece to get them into a suitable transfer orbit. Fine. All we need is $25 million US and we can begin that construction tomorrow...
Another flaw in your argument is this common thread that somehow it was the sophistication of AO-40 that led to its demise. The notion that such a thing exists as a "simple" HEO satellite needs desperately to be exorcised from the thinking of all AMSAT members.
There ain't no such animal.
It continues to fall on deaf ears that the entire P3 program consisted of P3A (blew up on launch), P3B (malfunction on release even though AO-10 gave a lot of people a lot of joy it was not at all a 100% success), P3C was nearly perfect except that its life was terminated much sooner than it should have been due to an orbital miscalculation.
And then there was P3D and we all know its story.
Four launches; one success and three not so successful launches. That's it. 1-4 is our thirty-year record at HEO.
The failures were not for lack of trying, effort, or intelligence on our part, but rather, indicate what a daunting task it is to build a satellite "in a garage" that includes an onboard propulsion system and some sort of attitude control -- along with a communication package that doesn't piss off half the members because it will require them to invest another $200 in a new transverter...
Your point about educational projects being non-sustainable is questionable.
By encouraging, mentoring, and working with Universities to produce Cubesat type projects and payloads, we will be exposing amateur radio to a number of students who are presumably studying for a career in science and aerospace. Some of these will go on to become the engineering managers for the spate of commercial launch companies that will very soon arrive on the scene.
And maybe, just maybe, one of them will one day have the opportunity to recommend an amateur radio project for one of those "spare" lifts to GTO that you and others think might some day exist and that we need to be ready to take advantage of...
The truth is, we have arrived at a place in history where given the circumstances, we very likely will not be returning to HEO anytime soon, if ever. We can kick and scream and lay down and die, or we can dust ourselves off, take what we have and move forward.
Of course its just my opinion, but we've cried in our beer long enough and we need to get over it and get moving. Quite frankly, the future for amateur radio in space for the next twenty-years is at LEO. AMSAT can choose to embrace that and make progress or ignore it and become totally irrelevant.
AMSAT can ignore LEO but radio amateurs will not. We will keep playing with whatever assets appear on orbit with or without AMSAT but then given that scenario, who needs AMSAT?