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Re: Re:13 Amateur Satellites to Launch in June

The purpose of the cubesats is to allow students to design and build a 
satellite and have a good chance of having it launched before they 
graduate. If you look at any of their websites, you will see that the 
students group into teams developing each part of the cubesat. These 
teams have to communicate and coordinate with each other. The cubesats 
are probably the students first satellite design effort. To have a 
better chance of success, it is best to keep the satellite small and 
simple and low cost. The cubesat size also lets the university to afford 
to pay for a launch.

Universities have been building larger satellites and those satellites 
usually sit for many years before getting a free ride. I think Sapphire 
sat for up to 10 years waiting for a ride. The students are long gone by 
the time the larger satellite is launched. They don't see the  results 
of their work. 

With the cubesats, the universities pay $40K for a ride. There are no 
"give away" launches. I've been involved with cubesats since nearly the 
beginning. The kits are relatively cheap compared to the required effort 
and failure rate to meet the mass requirements and structural integrity. 
A lot of the cubesats are being designed and built by very inexperienced 
students. So yes, a lot of the satellites will just put out telemetry 
and not much else but it is a learning experience. A lot of the students 
do not know how to design and build a working linear transponder let 
alone any kind of radio. I like the beeping cubesats. It gives me 
opportunities to show kids how to track satellites and collect telemetry 
at the cansat summer camp I run every year.

Stensat is starting to build radios for some of the universities. We are 
also starting to look into developing amateur radio specific payloads 
and make them available to universities. There is no reason others in 
the AMSAT community cannot do the same.

Stensat will be working with an organization called the Federation of 
Galaxy Explorers (www.foge.org) in setting up a satellite development 
program for high schools. We plan to get the school set up with an 
amateur radio ground station and have the kids get amateur radio 
licenses. The kids will be able to work the satellites and get a good 
idea of how they work so they can develop their satellite. We will make 
sure the cubesat can provide the amateur radio community some type of 
service. It may start out as a packet repeater or APRS. If others in 
AMSAT want to join in, we can use a low power tiny linear transponder. 
How about an SSTV payload or the new digital SSTV payload.

So what is a good price for a ham level cubesat?


William Leijenaar wrote:

>Increadible how we can "give away" so many frequencies
>and launches. I just seen the cubesat participation
>list. It is full with universities in US, and other
>countries. There are only 2 amateur participants of
>which stensat is already up...
>That there are many projects going on is not that bad
>at all, its good for future technology. What makes me
>really feel bad is that it is all more looking to an
>indirect commercial business. Just look at the prices
>for such cubesat kit !!!. Its not really an amateur
>price, and it is mainly focused on universities (when
>I see the list of participants)
>I don't feel any "ham spirit" in these kind of
>cubesats anymore. Most (ofcourse some exeptions) of
>those cubes on the list look more like an university
>advertising bleep-box to me... 
>The reason is that in a real technical way these
>satellites work unefficient in matters of space use. 
>Every cubesat has its own structure, solar, battery,
>and power system etc... Imagine when they all work
>together and put their payloads in one big satellite. 
>Costs would be much lower as they can all share the
>basic systems like solar panels, battery, OBC, etc...
>But ofcourse this doesn't sell much cubesat kits...
>It is also better for students to learn communicating
>with eachother (different universities). In the real
>world knowledge is not always a problem, but
>communication between different engineers and
>companies is... It is even better when working
>together with international schools.
>Maybe there should be made a seperate small "none ham
>funded" cubesat frequency band. It would also be
>reasonable to have a cheaper ham level priced version
>of the cubesat kit for ham-funded projects.
>Just my opinion,
>I better go on with my linear-transponder for the next
>available ham satellite opertunity :o)
>William Leijenaar
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