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Re: Online Satellite Pass Predictions


The really hard facts are that this is incorrect.  Membership dues are 
largely  spent to  cover the cost of member services. 4000 members at 
$44 is $176,000 a year.  It will take 100 years to raise enough money 
for our ambitions at that rate if we applied every penny to the 
satellite construction and launch.  Earmarked donations provide much 
needed aid to satellite construction and I do encourage our members to 
donate to the construction funds for Eagle.  For those in the U.S,  I 
hope you will support P3E through the AMSAT-NA web site (this will be a 
tax deductible donation for U.S taxpayers) and the rest of the world may 
choose to donate there or on the AMSAT-DL Phase 3 Express web site.

Let me try to explain the major changes in the world of satellites 
briefly from our vantage point.

AMSAT-DL and AMSAT-NA and others have benefited directly from nearly 
free launches on "experimental" launches.   There were no paying 
customers for the most part and/or we were asking the launch authority 
to provide a service or ability they wanted to explore. Let's consider 
specifically the European situation.  On <<ALL>> previous launches, the 
contracts were signed with ESA.  The last one was grandfathered when 
Arianespace took over the AO-40 launcher from ESA, but that is what 
happened.  ESA is not doing experimental launches for now with Ariane 
launchers.  Arianespace is a for profit company.  It has accountants, 
and member countries/stock holders that care about the bottom line.  
They are not interested in spending huge sums of money to do the 
engineering that would allow us to ride.  It is not "Hey we want a 
ride!" and "sure, hop on".  It requires a large expenditure to study the 
engineering details of providing us with  secondary payload status.  
Just think about doing the analysis of our interconnects (electrical, 
mechanical, etc.) and what our mass will do to their planned 
trajectory.  All of that is real rocket science.  Arianespace is not in 
the business of helping out "the good old boys and girls" in AMSAT-DL.  
They are in the business of providing launches for money.

AMSAT-NA would like to get any ride it could for Eagle but we are less 
likely than AMSAT-DL to get a ride on an Ariane at a price we can easily 
afford.  So this leaves us looking for alternatives.  The utter paranoia 
of our government (justified and unjustified) has caused the imposition 
of onerous rules on our sending spacecraft overseas for launch.  These 
rules are called ITAR.  A satellite is DEFINED to be a munition by the 
U.S. government.  We have begun to explore some interesting alternatives 
that we can only hope bear fruit in nearly free launches.  That has 
nothing like a guarantee associated with it.

I suspect you are beginning to see the scope of the problem.  We need 
almost as much money to launch Eagle as all previous launches combined.  
Your membership dues will not let us lick the stamp to mail the request 
for a launch are the cold hard mathematically provable facts.  Your 
membership dues WILL help us show we are an alive and going concern to 
those who MIGHT pay for our launch.  I would say we need to work on our 
approach to this and our presentation of our needs and the organization 
is doing exactly that.  Our treasurer and board member Gunther Meisse 
(W8GSM) is really working hard on this with others in the leadership.  
However,  we do have a problem that I think should be addressed soon in 
the membership.  There will be at least ten people who read this note 
capable of providing 10% of the cost of the ride or influence those who 
could.  It should be our all consuming passion that keeps the leadership 
up at night to understand why they do not choose to do so.  We need to 
fix whatever problem we have that prevents them from entrusting us with 
such a gift.

We are eternal optimists.  We are trying to achieve a very difficult 
thing in today's bottom line environment.  Keep us in mind with your 
donations EARMARKED for satellite construction.


Eric H Christensen wrote:
> Ed,
> AMSAT already does this.  But for the perks of being able to get this 
> information on your WAP device should be a selling point for becoming 
> a member.  I like providing free services to newbies but the income 
> from those free services doesn't build satellites.  Membership dues, 
> however, do build satellites.
> There are some services that AMSAT should keep just for their 
> membership.  The ARRL does as do many other organizations.
> Eric KF4OTN

AMSAT VP Engineering. Member: ARRL, AMSAT-DL, TAPR, Packrats,
Laziness is the number one inspiration for ingenuity.  Guilty as charged!
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