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Re: Right-sizing a sat [was: Antennas on the bird]

>From: "Margaret Leber (K3XS)" <maggie@voicenet.com>
>To: Robert Oler <cvn65vf94@msn.com>
>CC: amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org

The issue of right sizing a satellite boggles even folks like NASA so its no 
real surprise that AMSAT and others are boggled with it.  I agree that AO-40 
probably just grew...at least over the last 10 years thats been my take on 
every article that I have read on it.  Indeed if one traces the history of 
AO-40 with modest differences you see the history of things like Mars 
Observer, Hubble, the ISS etc...but particularly Mars Observer.

In the end all this occurs from mission creep...an lack of statement as to 
what the "goal" of the project is and then as long as one is able to cram 
stuff into the bird then the stuff goes in.  I dont know if AO-40 is to 
complicated but it did eat up a lot of resources and those resources were 
not available for any other satellites.  Now launches are not easy to come 
by (parituclary free ones) but they have been there and had their been 
payloads they could have been flown.  What AO-40 did is sponge up almost all 
the assets (talent/money enthusiasim) for any "mainline" bird and well here 
we are today.

On the other end of the scale oare things like OPAL/Stensat etc..which I 
think are trying to define "how low can you go" (to modestly Quote Steve 
Ford).  Stensat may have been to small but gee it was launched by a bunch of 
folks who spent their own money and ventured forth and in the best 
traditions of ham radio tried soemthing that didnt work.  I am quite pleased 
to see that they are back at it with another bird and maybe they will do it 
this time.  The folks at USNA are taking a shot at finding out how small you 
can go.  When we answer this then I think there is tremendous oppurtunity 

Somewhere between AO-40 and Stensat is what "corporate" satellite 
development probably ought to be going after.  I realize that this is going 
to chop people with no or small antennas but in the end two or three AO-10's 
will probably advance the hobby more then one AO-40 particularly when at 
some point (if we are not already there) AO-40 will go the way of all 

In other words imagine this...tomorrow AO-10 dies just goes away and never 
returns (dont do this...) and AO-40 doesnt get better.  (OK this is the Dark 
star scenario).  Was the decision to build AO-40 like it was a good one.

Probably not.  My belief is that this possibility is real enough that it 
should have governed what we did here...and what we will do in the future.

Robert Oler WB5MZO Houston TX

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