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Re: Amateur radio module on commercial Geo Sat?



A followup comment. I believe it reasonable to increase the cost of
the satellite ground stations when that decreases the cost of the
spacecraft by a greater amount. Furthermore, a ground station can be
updated to use newer (cheaper and/or better) technology far more
easily than a satellite already in orbit that's trying to achieve a
10-year lifetime. And then there are the costs reflected in the
greater ease of repairing a ground station than a satellite in orbit.

This is just standard system engineering practice.

Then there's a consideration unique to AMSAT. Because our spacecraft
are funded by donations and grants, not by airtime charges, they are
vulnerable to the economic tragedy of the commons. Anyone who has ever
pumped another ham to contribute to AMSAT knows that most hams are far
more willing to spend, say, $1,000 on a HF linear amplifier they
really don't need and will hardly ever use than to donate the same
amount toward a shared spacecraft that would do far more for his
communications capability. This argues for minimizing satellite costs
even if that were to *increase* the total system (satellite + ground
station) cost.

Now it's certainly reasonable to want to make our spacecraft more
accessible to newcomers with limited means. But that could be
accomplished by taking the money that would otherwise be spent on a
more expensive spacecraft and directly subsidizing the development or
production of ground station hardware.

Phil
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