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fahnen/lafayette.jpg Symposium Update
Launch Pad Return
2005 AMSAT-North America Space Symposium
and Annual Meeting

Important Symposium Information



AMSAT Board Cancels the Symposium

The AMSAT-NA Board of Directors in special session held Tuesday evening, September 6 via teleconference has made the decision to cancel the 2005 AMSAT Symposium which was scheduled to take place in Lafayette, LA October 7-9.

While Hurricane Katrina spared Lafayette in terms of physical damage, the city is now the home to thousands of evacuees who left the Gulf Coast and are now housed in Lafayette's hotels and other accommodations for the near future.

Over the past week AMSAT-NA has been looking into the possibility of relocating the Symposium to an alternative site. A number of options were explored (such as Baltimore-Washington, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Orlando, Tampa, San Francisco, and Tulsa) as several AMSAT teams investigated if the Symposium could be relocated on short notice. This required finding appropriate hotel facilities and putting local host committees together to coordinate Symposium at each potential location. It became obvious that with less than five weeks before the Symposium was scheduled to take place, there would be insufficient time to make a suc- cessful change in location. Altering the Symposium dates was not viewed as practical since many attendees have to schedule their vacation time well in advance and most individuals already have commitments for later weekends.

"We regret that Symposium will not be held this year," says AMSAT-NA President Rick Hambly, W2GPS. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims on the Gulf Coast who are now relocated to Lafayette and sur- rounding states." Rick went on to note that the Board was concerned that attempting to relocate on such short notice would impact the quality of the Symposium. "The task of hosting a Symposium would potentially strain the host committee tasked with handling the Symposium with less than 30 days notice."

"Many thanks to our AMSAT members who stepped forward to identify potential locations. Clearly, these volunteers have worked very hard to find an alternative site and would have done their best to host a Symposium. Unfortunately, time is working against us" notes Barry Baines, WD4ASW AMSAT's VP-Marketing & User Services.

The Board also wishes to thank Nick Pugh, K5QXJ for the extensive work that he has done to plan for the Lafayette Symposium and to his team for organizing what would have been an excellent Symposium in Louisiana.

The Board also noted that donations are needed to assist the relief efforts on the Gulf Coast. Given that this year's Symposium is cancelled, the Board hopes that individuals will decide to donate a portion of their funds to be used to cover their cost of attending the Symposium to an organization (such as American Red Cross) aiding the relief effort on the Gulf Coast.

AMSAT-NA Office Manager Martha Saragovitz will handle the process of providing refunds for registration fees already collected. Checks will be sent to those whose fees had previously been processed. In some cases, registrants had completed the registration process on the AMSAT web site by their credit cards. These charges will be destroyed. Checks covering registration that have been sent by mail and not processed will be returned to the sender.

Attendees holding reservations at the Holiday Inn should cancel their reser- vations prior to the scheduled arrival date in order to avoid first night room charges. The Holiday Inn in Lafayette has been experiencing telephone problems, so it may be best to contact the Holiday Inn Reservation Center (888-HOLIDAY) or use the Holiday Inn website: http://www.holiday-inn.com if the individual has their confirmation number for their reservation.

AMSAT-NA Board Meeting and Eagle Team Meeting

As part of the 2005 Symposium schedule, the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors was scheduled to meet in Lafayette on October 6 and 7. In addition, an Eagle Team Meeting was planned for Sunday, October 9 and Monday morning October 10. These two groups will now meet at a location to be announced later this week.

The AMSAT-NA BOD meeting will take place on Thursday, October 6 and Friday morning October 7 and the Eagle Team Meeting will be held Friday afternoon, Saturday October 8 and Sunday morning October 9. With the exception of when the Board of Directors is in 'Executive Session', both meetings are open.

The AMSAT Bylaws require that that an AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting occur in October or November. This meeting will be called to order following the conclusion of the Board of Directors meeting and is open to all AMSAT members. In order to provide wider participation in the Annual Meeting process, alternative methods of providing a connection to the meeting site will be investigated, such as teleconference or use of Echolink. Details will be published once a decision is made on site location and arrangements can be worked out.

The IARU meeting that was scheduled for Sunday morning, October 9 in Lafayette, LA has not been rescheduled.

2006 AMSAT Symposium Announcement

Recognizing that most of the 2005 Symposium attendees had already purchased non-refundable airline tickets to fly to Lafayette, Baton Rouge, or New Orleans, the Board also made a decision on the location for the 2006 AMSAT Symposium. 'Non-refundable' means the airline will not return the airfare to the individual due to cancellation but the value of the reservation may be applied to a future flight as long as cancellation occurs prior to the original flight. Other restrictions on making changes to non-refundable reservations may also apply. Some airlines have waived 'change fees' for altering a reservation associated with current reservations into New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette.

The AMSAT Board of Directors voted Tuesday night to accept an offer from Project OSCAR to host the 2006 Symposium in the San Francisco Bay area in the month of October. Emily Clarke, W0EEC will serve as host chairperson and will coordinate the Symposium. "San Francisco is a great place to hold the Symposium," says Emily. "The roots of the Amateur Satellite Service can be found here as Project OSCAR began building the first amateur satellites in the Bay Area." Emily also notes the allure of the area for both 'geeks' and families alike. "We have everything from beaches to mountains, cities and wine country - so come to the Symposium and plan your vacation, too!"

In addition to the AMSAT Symposium, San Francisco is planned as a joint meeting with the ARISS International Delegates. "We're looking forward towards another successful joint meeting with AMSAT" says ARISS International Chairman and AMSAT VP-Human Space Flight Frank Bauer, KA3HDO.

Details about exact dates and hotel for the 2006 Symposium will be announced via ANS and posted on the AMSAT website later this month as they become available. Individuals holding airline reservations into Lafayette should hold off making changes until the dates and exact location of the 2006 Symposium are announced. In the meantime, AMSAT-NA looks forward towards an outstanding Symposium in October 2006 in the Bay Area.

[ANS thanks Barry Baines, WD4ASW, and the AMSAT Board of Directors for the above information]


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