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Re: AMSAT has a SECRET!






>From: Jon Ogden <na9d@speakeasy.net>
>To: Robert Oler <cvn65vf94@msn.com>, <kayser@sympatico.ca>
>CC: <amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org>
>Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] AMSAT has a SECRET!
>Date: Fri, 01 Jun 2001 07:28:40 -0500
>

>AO-40 a mistake?  OK, Robert, this drivel doesn't surprise me as you have
>said this before.
>
>Let's see, the mistake was made by a plug being left in the engine valve
>that should have been removed.  Human error.  Could have happened anytime.
>
>The AMSAT BOD, recognized that while we can build satellites, we aren't
>rocket scientists.  They recognized that while it is nice, a propulsion
>system is probably the most costly and most dangerous part of a satellite.
>We've had success with 1 out of 3 propulsion systems.  If we were playing
>baseball that's a good average.  In space comms, that's not so good,
>particularly when it's all based on volunteer money.  So the most costly 
>and
>dangerous element has been removed.
>stuff and as redundant stuff.
>

Hi Jon.  I hope that you are well.

Lets start with the rocket because finally that point has gotten across.  I 
cant recall which magazine it was in but there was an article titled "This 
is Rocket Science" and well no 1 out of three isnt good in anything except 
baseball which is a sport.

So past that.

The "mistake" in AO-40 was not the various "bands" nor "modes" it was the 
concentration on a single platform which in itself was not replaceable.

Put it this way.  Had the Ariane V landed in the drink then it wouldnt have 
mattered weather the bird was insured OR NOT the loss to the Amateur Radio 
Satellite community would have been enormous and perhaps not replaceable in 
oh say another 10 years?  Of course that assumes that the bird got to orbit 
close to 100 percent and really after all is said and done we are not going 
to get anywhere near that with this bird.

So the discussion is still valid...why not smaller platforms?  What are the 
tradeoffs between a "lot" of smaller AO-10 birds and one superbird?  Lets 
look at your post to examine one of them...launch/building cost...

>I'm guessing, but let's say that each AO-10 type costs us 2 million to
>build.  That's 6 million dollars.  Let's say AO-40 cost us 8 million
>dollars.  OK, so gee, you say, it's cheaper to build 3 AO-10s.  But launch
>costs are 2 million each.  Now the 3 AO-10's cost 12 million while 1 AO-40
>costs 9 million.  Again, these are numbers pulled out of thin air.
>

They certianly are.  They dont even really add up.  OK using your numbers 
3AO-10 birds are 6 million dollars to build and launch but one AO-40 bird 
would certianly have a 2 million dollar launch cost (or the same as an AO-10 
bird...maybe more) so what you are comparing is 12 to 10 million not the 
numbers you came up with (unless you think that an AO-40 bird is only a 1 
million dollar launch campaign...then why is it less expensive then an 
AO-10?).  OK so thats an extra 2 million...then drop one of the AO-10 birds 
and we now save 2 million over AO-40 AND WE HAVE A MORE CAPABLE COMM 
PLATFORM.

But actually I dont think that your numbers have much rigor (and neither 
would any that I push out so I am not just concepts).

There should be some economics of scale if say three spaceframes for AO-10 
type (or a replacement platform) were built and if the "basics" of the three 
spacecraft were wired up pretty much the same with only the "drop in" 
transponder/s being different and those attached to a similar interface.  If 
the launch campaign is done at the same time then the "cost" should be 
cheaper and since things like the SBS dont have to be built and shipped and 
all the shipping cost should be the same.

There should be some numbers on this somewhere since the Microsat campaign 
would have generated some scale numbers.

I bet you that we could have launched two AO-10 sized platforms (maybe not 
the same shape) on the same A-V that launched AO-40.  AO-40 was sized for V 
because the concept of a superbird was sold to the Amateur Satellite 
community as (sorry to borrow the NASA words) "the next logical step".

I just dont think it was.  In the interium of the Campaign there have been a 
couple of "dry shots" that might have been used to put a built and ready to 
fly satellite in orbit....and there will be more...and there is nothing to 
offer from the community.



>AO-40 is a HUGE success.  Never before has a bird with this much capability
>been up there.  Let's see, we have an S-band downlink that works great.  We
>finally have RUDAK working on a satellite (never had that before), LEILA
>works fantastic and it is new.  We have more transponder bandwidth than 
>ever
>before.  We have a stable orbit.  We still may have other uplink and
>downlink bands that may possibly work (70 cm d/l still hasn't been tried on
>the high gain antennas).
>
>AO-40 is the most successful and capable bird ever put up even though it
>isn't 100%.  That cannot be argued.
>

I admire the courage, skill dedictation etc of the team that built AO-40 and 
put it upa nd has at least salvaged something.  BUT your statement strikes 
me as really a recognition of how badly things have gone.  Sure its more 
capable then Oscar 10...and it cost a lot more AND it should have done a lot 
more then it will ever do.  IN the end whats going to come out is probably a 
one or two "mode" transponder system whose orbit is going to be an 
entertaining one from a power generation/antenna point viewpoint.

OK its the best that can be done but my point is and remains that we should 
not have put all the eggs in one glourious package.

Robert
>
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