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RE: Phase 4 satellite(s)?



> I haven't commented because I caught whatever bug has been 
> going around
> and fell behind on email.

Sorry to hear that. :-(

> Anyway, I feel strongly that the design and low-cost manufacture of
> the required ground stations is an essential element of any advanced
> amateur LEO constellation. Putting a "legacy" mode on the satellites
> could certainly be done, but that would constrain the system design,
> increase the cost, size, complexity and mass of the satellites and
> divert resources from making the new ground station hardware as widely
> available as possible.

Good point Phil.  If eliminating legacy modes makes the system cheaper and
in the long run, more universally accessible, it is a good thing.  Backwards
compatibility is fine, but it also does make things more complex (just ask
the designers of the Pentium series of processors, which still have to be
able to run 808x code).

Sure, hams will have to invest in new gear, but there's an opportunity to
bring homebrewing more to the fore, since the early adopters will have no
choice but to construct their own transceiver.  If it takes off, then the
commercial manufacturers would no doubt oblige, if they saw a big enough
market.

As for legacy compatibility, that could be done outside the system by
someone linking it to a small slice of the transponder bandwidth of another
satellite, such as AO-10 or AO-40, via a terrestrial gateway. Might take a
bit of funky logic, but one for the "where there's a will, there's a way"
brigade that doesn't sacrifice cost or performance of the new system.
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