On 1/9/2023 10:25, Paul Stoetzer via Ltm wrote:
Do we have the potential capacity to support this project with an LTM?
Yes, we have the /potential capacity/ for one or two LTM. The actual depends primarily on when it would be needed, and the number e.g. suggested at least an Engineering Model and a Flight Model.
Frequencies must be coordinated with IARU early on and will need to be known before delivery of any units whether engineering or flight.
Another capacity factor will be support, for integration and any other that the customer expects. That will weigh out against how much time we have to meet support beyond the expected base level of EM/FM, manual, and some help with difficulties or bugs in getting it talking to their spacecraft bus.
And then cost, a one or two-off (EM, FM) build is more expensive than 5 or 10 so AMSAT should consider whether we want to do a run to have others available for yet-unknown disposition or just serve customers on an as-needed basis. Since we generally do not want to charge anyone for the LTM (in-kind would probably be smart but is up to you, not Engineering) then whatever costs we will absorb should fit our vision and due diligence on spending. And there are other factors IMO with that cost such as how long the mission will last. I would expect them to operate the amateur radio until the spacecraft demise, not just until their experiments are done. I would expect the best possible orbit to extend that life and in that, with Keith's mention of OD regs US vs. Canada if they can go higher and longer, it makes sense to perhaps consider a minimum orbit lifetime of x years for the cost to us for the LTM and support. Like, not an ISS deploy for six months or a year IMO.
Summary: Yes, we have the potential capacity. What exactly that means in terms of all of the above, is the real question. I see no, or negative, value in saying we'll provide this free-to-hamsats LTM sure thing let's go only to fail for whatever eventualities (including supply chain). The risk of losing any future chances by failure far outweighs over-optimism on meeting the sales pitch. "AMSAT has been offering a fully tested cubesat transponder suite to those groups interested in building and launching "amateur radio qualified" experiments into earth orbit" is a sales pitch that does bother me. Perhaps we should consider finding some better coincidence of sales pitch vs. realism. We do not want to own, or expect to be given, any or all LTM we give away. You have it (our) radio, you license it, you operate it, you own it, you keep it. I think Keith is on that but it's not apparent in this email. It has to be, in whatever sales pitch. And what is a "transponder suite", anyway?
Jerry Buxton, NØJY Vice President - Engineering Radio Amateur Satellite Corp. (AMSAT)