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Re: Amateur radio module on commercial Geo Sat?



Dale Coleman wrote:

> Hi all, I have been curious about the possibility of installing a amateur

> radio module on a commercial satellite that would be launched into a
> geosynchronous orbit.
>
> This would seem to make sense - lease or buy space on a larger commercial

> satellite instead of trying to develop one.
>
> Perhaps the amateur radio community could offer the owners of the
> commercial satellite some excellent public relations potential by
allowing
> schools to use the module for science projects Ect.
>
> Just curious and dreaming while waiting for AO-40 to say Hi again.
>
> Dale KF4SIR

Dale -- this is an excellent idea, and AMSAT has tried to find just such an

opportunity for more than 20 years. The basic problem is financial. Such a
commercial satellite would end up with the company having to donate a few
kg
of mass, plus a few watts of power, plus either real-estate for an antenna
or
access to their antenna.

The biggest killer seems to be the "few kg". All these satellites rely on
fuel
like hydrazine for station keeping so that they can occupy the assigned
correct "slot" in the Clarke geostationary belt. Every spare kg of mass
that
they can loft to GEO is occupied by such fuel. To pay for a ~$200M
satellite,
they like to plan on having ~20 years of fuel available. Our few kg of mass

would cost them a significant number of years of lifetime.

So if you were the CEO of GEOSAT.COM, would you donate a few tens of
million
bux of your investor's capital to a bunch of crazy hams?

Occasionally the idea has come up that somebody might have some last minute

spare mass available. So the idea of building a transponder to sit on the
shelf awaiting a possible launch has come up. But to build this hardware to

specs that would be acceptable to commercial investor, a team of amateurs
would have to donate man-years of labor on the off-chance that it might
fly. A
couple of times groups of volunteers have tried to do this, but nobody was
really masochistic enough to make some hardware "happen". A part of the
problem was that they rapidly learned that there was no standardized
interface
to build the hardware to! What would the power supply voltage be? What
would
the connectors be? What would the footprint of the box need to be?
etcetera.

I would dearly love for someone to be able to refute these factoids. But if

you flame, please flame with truth in mind!

73 de Tom, W3IWI



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