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Re: Orbital vs. CATS

Ken, I asked you for a simple way in which we can help you.  I can not
find my way through your reply.  There is a great number of obstacles
involved in any effort, but those that survive are those than can separate
need from desire.  Define how we can help please!!!     

Cliff K7RR

On Tue, 11 Aug 1998, Ken Shock wrote:

> Hello Cliff,
> To begin, NEOSci is a small organization originally formed to research the
> ability of one or two individuals with reasonable skills in constructing and
> orbiting a small amateur radio satellite. As I've mentioned before, I have
> been very involved in Ham radio, and satellites in particular. I have built
> and launched several balloon payloads, and helped others assemble satellite
> ground stations. I don't have much in the way of brochures or writen
> material. But here's why I'm giving this a try.
> I am also interested in amateur rocketry. I am a member of Reaction Research
> Society, the leading amateur/experimental rocketry association in the
> western US. Members of RRS have often gone on to work for NASA, Thiokol,
> Boeing, and others in the industry. It has existed since the early 50's, and
> has its own launch range in southern California. I'm also a member of
> Tripoli Rocketry Association, a major mover/shaker in the high power and
> experimental rocketry field.
> I have examined the problems over the past few years, and come to some
> conclusions concerning the various routes to space we amateur satellite
> builders/operators have.
> First: NASA/ESA/Energia. These organizations, often owned or provided
> funding by governments, should be the first line in getting our payloads
> into space. But for all of out taxes, this route is no longer commonly
> available. In this day of cost-cutting and reduced taxes, these agencies are
> forced to turn to private industry for funding to maintain their various
> projects. We amateurs cannot afford the exhorbitant costs for launch and
> insurance that major industry can absorb and redirect to us when we use
> their services, i.e. DirecTV, Orbcomm, etc.
> Occasionally, a chance to launch arrives when testing new technologies. But,
> quite often, these slots are given to the highest bidder, even though there
> is considerable risk. Look what just happened to P3D.
> Second: Pegasus, Kistler, Sea Launch, and others (Private industry). Many
> amateurs think that the future of launching OSCARs is with the up-and-coming
> private industry launch vehicles. But, these organizations have one thing in
> mind: Profit. They'll give us a ride, for a price. This probably would be
> cheaper than NASA and its ilk. But with required insurance costs, and paying
> customers going first, it will be very difficult to get a ride.
> On top of this, very few of these upstarts will survive. They have great
> ideas. But they have to have the money to start up, pay insurance, and dance
> with NASA, which has no plans of giving up paying customers. On top of this,
> most companies, like Boeing/Sea Launch have to go out on the open ocean or
> outside the country to get away from government interference.
> Third: The small guy. Various teams presently involved with such project as
> the CATS prize are a reasonable way to go for small payloads to LEO. These
> organizations are very similar to early AMSAT and the original Project
> OSCAR. They are at the threshold of being able to launch 10-20kg to orbit.
> Many of these teams are involved professionally in the launch industry, such
> as manufacturing sounding rockets, and sub-contracting parts for major
> industry. They are very willing to launch our payloads for cost, to gain the
> experience needed to further the technology at the amateur level. They are
> involved with the CATS prize to get the funding necessary to approach
> industry and universities with launch opportunities.
> The major obstacle they face is NASA and the FAA. Seen as a bunch of crazies
> with big firecrackers, or oversized hobby store toys, its been hard to get
> permission to launch sub-orbital, much less orbital. But the consensus is
> that if they can convince these agencies that they are able to safely and
> professionally launch, that future launch opportunities will be easier to
> obtain.
> As a member of AMSAT, I wish to further the amateur satellite program. I
> want to assemble a satellite that I can get orbited before I'm an old man. I
> feel that, as I'm not a part of the upper echelons of AMSAT, the chances of
> my project being funded or gaining assistance from AMSAT are nil to none.
> The primary focus is on P3D. And I'm not a university, with funding and
> assistance from industry. If I can assist another amateur program while
> getting to my goals, all the better.
> I approached the amsat-bb to get assistance with my plans, not to get AMSAT
> to change direction or scrap P3D. (I've worked too hard on my shack getting
> ready for it to want that!) If anyone wants to give me some help, or provide
> assistance, I'm happy to accept, with much gratitude. I just get a little
> irked when folks that don't know exactly whats going on jump all over an
> idea. I don't believe in the current concept of "constructive criticism".
> Criticism is criticism. If you don't want to help, just don't.
> I hope this helps illustrate where I and NEOSci are coming from. I have a
> dream: to be the first amateur radio operator to assemble and launch a
> satellite with amateur rocketry assistance. If you can see that dream, too,
> please contact me at (509) 927-8931 between 7pm and 10 pm pacific, and we'll
> talk.
> Ken Shock, AB7UP
> NEOSci
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Clifford Buttschardt <cbuttsch@slonet.org>
> To: Ken Shock <donaldkent@email.msn.com>
> Cc: Brad Wyatt <bwyatt@arrl.org>; Ed English <eenglish@slonet.org>; Fried
> Heyn <wa6wzo@arrl.org>
> Date: 1998-Aug-11, Tue 15:23
> Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] Orbital vs. CATS
> >Ken.  I've watched with interest your request for help and some of the
> >replys your getting.  I've put a group together to try and understand
> >what is required for an orbital launch.  As you can appreciate, this would
> >not have been done unless there were some devoted people involved.
> >
> >We need to know more about NEOSCI and any other amateur rocket programs
> >that might lead to amateur involvement in satellites.  Is there any
> >promotional or other written material that we might have or obtain?  Our
> >group does not want to intrude on rocket science but rather aid the
> >AMATEUR satellite program.  With the failure of phase IIID launch, I
> >suspect we both have similar views about government and big business
> >sticking noses into what in the AMSAT case, is obviously is a direct steal
> >from out low orbiting AMATEUR satellites.
> >
> >Can you help or direct us in the proper direction??
> >Cliff Buttschardt  K7RR  Morro Bay, Calif
> >
> ----
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