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Re: Secrets...

> Hi Kevin and All,
> kevin schuchmann wrote:
> > 
> >    I have asked before for detailed info on AO40 and have found that that some 
> > systems are proprietary, and there are no component level schematics 
> > available for the general viewing...
> Sorry, this is not completely true!!!
> All the information of AO-40 is in the so-called "Green Book".
> The mechanical and electrical books together are about 9 cm thick,
> about 1000 pages, printed on both sides.
> We have similar books for all previous "Phase 3" projects.
> There is no secret or proprietary information, other than peoples
> intellectuality. In fact, some groups and the core people who
> build AO-40 have a copy and some information is already re-used
> on the newer projects.
> For education, a lot of details from these books were also
> published in our AMSAT-DL Journal or other places, when appropriate.
> In general, we (at AMSAT-DL) have a policy that everything
> which goes into the satellite (hardware and software) must be
> fully documented and everything (schematics, source code, etc.)
> must be available to the project team for review.
> Not only for safety concerns, but also for contingency planning's.
> Most of the module designers have no problem with this policy.
> Only a few requested, that they have to be consulted first, before
> anything is made available to a wider public.
> Unfortunately, we had only one case (related to software) were
> we did not follow this rule 100%. This created problems later
> on and was a proof that our policy in fact was right..
> However, this does not automatically mean that every radio
> amateur on earth must have full access to these information's.
> We do not give the green books away for "free".
> Not only, that it costs a lot of money to reproduce these books,
> it also costs a lot of time. We are a voluntary organization,
> we want to build satellites, not a documentation service...
> If someone wants it, he can come to us and convince us, that it
> is for a real serious project and not an interesting souvenir
> to have.
> A side effect is, that we also do not want that some "arm chair"
> designers bombard us with comments like "why did you used
> that part, I would have done it this way.." etc..
> If someone really wants to get involved and want to support
> the project, he will be given the chance to have access to
> all the above.. but it won't be as simple as "just" asking
> for a copy of the schematics for the satellite..

I'll keep this in mind before I contribute to the the next
satellite's funding campaign.  Glad to see that my contribution
has earned my no special status or consideration whatsoever.  It
costs money to reproduce documents, just like it costs money
to do fund-raising and other overhead parts of volunteer organizations.
Why not sell this documentation as a fund-raising tool?  Some might
be willing to pay money beyond the reproduction costs to have an
"interesting souvenir."

And frankly, having additional "arm chair" designers review the
desgin would probably avoid situation like the "security by obscurity"
feature of some of the command subsystems in birds flying today, and
hopefully preventing silliness like that in new designs.


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