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Re: Idea for more satellites in short time

Robert Oler wrote:

> Some duplicates of AO-7 (or 6/8) would be fine...but what I wonder is 
> for all the dollars that were put into AO-40...well how many AO-10's 
> could we have had.

The real question should be, "how many AO-10's could we have
gotten built and launched?"

My point is that the cost of getting a satellite into space is
enormously influenced by the cost of getting it launched, and so
if we had been building AO-10 clones instead of AO-40, could we
have even got TWO of them launched and operational for the same
amount of money spent on AO-40?  I honestly don't know, but I
guarantee you we couldn't have launched 5 or 10 of them with
the AO-40 budget, like some folks think.  (Not pointing a finger
at you or any particular person.  I don't have the cost figures
so maybe I'm all wet on this, but I don't think so.)

> Essentially despite the dreams a "uber transponders" what AO-40 was 
> before it went silent key was well a one note Jack.  To many eggs were 
> put in one basket with AO-40.

To the extent that the complexity and expense of AO-40 prevented
us from launching a greater number of simpler, cheaper satellites
in the same time period for the same amount of money, I can only
say MAYBE (see my opinion above).

And sure, if there had been no propulsion system, there could not
have been a propulsion accident.  BUT... the thousands of QSO's
that were made on AO-40 are a TESTAMENT to the fact that some of
its complexity SAVED OUR BUNS.  The VHF transmitter blew up?  Ok,
let's use the UHF transmitter.  That stops working?  Well, we have
the the S-band transmitter.  Satellite stops listening to the
VHF and UHF command links?  Well, L-band uplink saved the day back
one Christmastime, remember that?  And on and on it goes.

Having a lot of complex equipment on AO-40 prevented the initial
explosion from silencing the bird immediately and forever.  That
complexity also gives us hope that we may yet recover from the
current battery problem.

I would welcome the launch of some AO-10-like birds, but I would
also hope that we use the advances in technology that have occurred
since AO-10 was originally designed and built, to cram in more
than a single VHF/UHF transponder into the thing.  Yeah, I'd like
a bit more complexity.  If it would allow us to accomplish the
goal quickly, now that we are down to zero HEO birds and several
ailing LEO linear transponder birds, I'd be happy to see us work
on that.  I certainly look forward to the P3E project by AMSAT-DL
and don't mean to imply in any way that I don't appreciate all
their efforts to get it going.  And I certainly don't think (my
opinion) that AO-40 was a bad idea.  But limited resources are
limited resources, realism is more productive than fantasy, but
a little fantasy tempered by realism is even better.  Let's get
going on building whatever we can, however soon we can.  Keep our
goals attainable, but still try to stretch the envelope a bit.
Don't just copy the past, keep looking to the future and advancing
the art, but if we have to be a bit more conservative, so be it.

Mainly, let's get it all talked out, and then stop talking and
start doing!  And that means everyone in AMSAT (that's US, folks)
contributing whatever they (WE) can, whether it's money, expertise,
time, talking up satellites at hamfests, showing off at Field Day
to the newbies and newbies-to-be, writing articles for the
newsletter, etc., etc.

73 de WØJT
AMSAT-NA Life Member #2292 and proud of it

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