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satellite roadmap?


This is being sent via AMSAT-BB, a free service provided
by AMSAT-NA.  Opinions are those of the author, not AMSAT-NA
or any other AMSAT national organization.

WHAT IS IT with AMSAT bashing?  And WHICH AMSAT are we bashing?
This is the third time I've seeing this wave, since coming back
to help AMSAT-NA.

Frankly, I can't believe how factionalized this has become.
LEO vs HEO.  SSB vs Digital. Satellite vs ISS.  Do this.
Do that.  You call THAT a satellite?

What IS it with you people?

If a potential major donor of launch space or funds were to view
this bulletin board, they would be turned off immediately.  Can you
begin to imagine how much damage you do, with these rants?

I'm a newbie-retread, but let me see if I can address SOME of the
questions or comments, as I understand them.  Smarter folks than
I can fill in the gaps, If I miss something:

First, why not build another AO-40?  Well, the last one took 10 years
and only AMSAT-DL knows how much. It's their bird. AMSAT-NA and ARRL
contributed around USD 2M between them.

P3E is well underway, and planned for 2005-2006 launch, as I understand
it.  Again, it's a DL bird.

Eagle is a 5 year project, in the design stage, and loosely considered
as 2008.  "Design" also means looking for funding, and there are profound
considerations here.  I'll come back to that, after a brief aside.

In planning, (as I understand it..I wasn't there.) the AMSAT-NA board
to the very vocal LEO community. They considered that ao-40 was going up in
2000, and p3e was planned for 5 years later.  Why launch another HEO, in
between?  Did they have money to launch another HEO, or could they find it?
Instead, they decided to satisfy the LEO consituency.  With perfect
we could perhaps take issue with that logic, but the project fit the
budget, and met the needs of an underserved constituency.

Coming back to funding:

Putting satellites in orbit isn't cheap.  Present launch rates are
USD 10,000/kg.  A half ton bird will cost $5M, to put in orbit.  How
much to build?  Another couple million, probably, depending on what
goes in it.  What's its lifetime? 5 or maybe 10 years?  Well, it IS
rocket science, after all...who knows?

Absent foundation grants, major angel donors, or government subsidies,
if "AMSAT" (which one...NA, UK, DL...?) had 1000 members, and the cost
were USD 10M to build and launch, that would be $1,000 per member, amortized
over some lifetime.  Something like USD 100-200 per year.

How much have YOU donated, specifically to satellite construction and
over the past 10 years?  Kind of makes the first line of the previous
paragraph a serious consideration, eh?

AMSAT-NA's board is revisiting its strategic planning, now.  It cannot be
in public, much as you might want it to be, for reasons associated with
sources of funding, among others.

On a closing topic, AMSAT-NA is an all-volunteer organization, a 501c3
which is dependent upon donations to fund activities.  Contribute as you're
That means money, time and talent.  We don't get government subsidies.

Once again, this is being sent via AMSAT-BB, a free service provided by
The comments, and any factual or logical errors contained therein, are those
the author, not AMSAT-NA. Contain your flames to private messages, please,
the address below.

Jim Jarvis, N2EA
Marketing Manager, AMSAT-NA

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