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President's letter - February 2004

To All members,
I was dissapointed to learn of the additional delay in  the ECHO launch, as 
you are aware we had hoped that ECHO would be launched last  fall, then we 
learnt that it would be this Spring, and now it appears to be this  Summer with 
the  launch window starting on June 29th.
In the fall I  pointed out that we could take advantage of the delay by 
allowing AMSAT some  extra time for integration and testing, and to a much lessser 
degree this could  still be true, letus hope that this will be the last delay. 
should point out  that none of these delays have been at the request of 
AMSAT, I am informed that  the latest delay is  due to a delay in the primary 
payload, we are a long  way down the list from the primary, so we have to take what 
we can get, but the  price is right.
Talking of Price, the latest information I have on the "ECHO  Launch Campaign 
Fund" advises me that we have $57,750  or over 52% of our  goal, I note that 
there are people who would like to give to EAGLE as well as  ECHO, and I a 
instructing  the appropriate Officers to open a  "thermometer" on the web page to 
show the funds collected for the design and  construction phases of EAGLE so 
that you may all see the goals we have to meet  and the challenges in front of 
us as well as the progress made. 
This "EAGLE  thermometer" will start with an initial goal of $600,000 a 
figure to be  confirmed and possibly increased following Eagle design meetings, it 
does not  include the launch cost which is at the present unknown and needs to 
be  determined, but almost certainly it will exceed another $600,000 and 
possibly be  as high as .... well your guess is as good as mine, but you can be 
sure we will  be working to reduce it to a minimum. HEO is an expensive 
proposition for  launch.
As we have attempted to do throughout the development of ECHO, we  will 
continue to do with EAGLE, that is, to try and keep you informed of the  progress 
in design, development, construction and testing of the satellite   and as soon 
as we have a launch available asmany details as possible will be  made 
available. Eagle will be an "Open Project" allowing full access to the  details 
where ever possible. Note I did not say completely full access as there  may be 
cases where it is prudent to spend you money on a proprietary item at a  lower 
cost than to develop an equivalent but new device, AMSAT may not have  access 
to the full details of the proprietary item or may be legally bound not  to 
disclose the technical details.
What are those items?, you may ask ...  right now I do not know, but I would 
be surprised if some do not show up.  
Recently there has been a discussion on AMSAT-BB about the AMSAT leadership,  
our lack of attention to the -BB and how we spend money. 
The Leadership of  AMSAT constantly keeps in touch with the membership, and 
spends a great deal of  time doing so. Many members choose to E-mail us 
directly asking good questions  and getting the answers.The membership also consists 
of many people who  read
-bb and do not participate on it. Your board and xecutive have  received many 
E-mails of support from these people over the last two weeks or so  for which 
we thank them.
What is the purpose of -BB? It is there firstly for  the use of the 
membership to exchange technical information and to ask technical  questions. 
Secondly it is there to ask other non technical questions  regarding 
Satellite operations, licensing, regulations etc.
Thirdly it can be  used to trade ideas for future satellites and influence 
AMSAT future policy in  this regard.
There are three good ways to use -BB and I am sure you can think  of more 
constructive items. 
Let us get out of the negative thinking modes,  for if you want the BoD and 
Officers to read the BB on a regular basis, then  let's make it a constructive 
I realize that these thoughts only  apply to a small minority of the 
membership and quite often to  non-members.
My best regards to you all - it's nearly spring  ..
Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President  AMSAT-NA
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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