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Re: Part 2, AMSAT has another SECRET!



on 6/6/01 10:57 AM, Larry Kayser at kayser@sympatico.ca wrote:

> If your a senior management type who knows the issues of focus and the
> limits of organizations to cope with variety you have to see a problem with
> the ISS/SAREX activity within AMSAT. Should this organization within an
> organization be set free to fly its own way? Can AMSAT survive with this
> split roll of interests?

It's a good question.  Putting aside whether or not the ISS is a boondoggle,
one can see a significant benefit to amateur radio on board the ISS.  There
is also a romanticism with talking to astronauts.  Plus there is the concept
of hooking kids into the hobby through the school programs, etc.  I don't
know if there is a "right" answer.  On this one I can see both sides of the
equation.  The sad part about ISS is that it's very low orbit makes for very
short passes and so how much use is it?

I have a problem with ISS being the only focused program of Amsat-NA.  I am
happy to see that we will now be managing our own satellite program as well.
I think most of the money and development for ISS is completed, but perhaps
I am wrong.


> 
> There is a user faction that strongly represents a keen interest in 146/28
> type of satellite. Should AMSAT be responding to this interest, or should
> AMSAT help those who are keen on such satellites be on their way to a new
> organization?

I don't think this is they type of satellite for Amsat to build.  There are
plenty of universities and others doing cube sats and other small satellite
projects.  These organizations are much more suited to building some of
these more experimental birds.  Sure, we haven't had the greatest success
from all of them, but look at the success of SO-35 while it was operational.
The OPAL program debuted a new launching platform, etc.  Amateur radio
benefits from these as does the commercial satellite industry.

I would argue that Amsat should stay out of the LEO business.

>Is it possible that AMSAT has taken a decision, with or
> without realizing that a decision was in fact taken, to abandon the low
> earth orbit amateur satellite business to the Russian space program? Are the
> Russian's doing the job of keeping the low earth orbit community happy and
> well supplied with satellites?

I don't think the Russians have launched a LEO in some time and I doubt they
will either.  The LEO programs have all been universities around the world
building satellites.


> 
> A valid question may well be, is the organization really a "volunteer work
> force" or is the close association with organized academic organizations a
> comfortable cover that could be called having your cake and eating it as
> well? 

Perhaps it's because I am too new to Amsat (1.5 years) that I haven't seen
this sort of association.  The universities involved in satellite building
may have Amsat members, but I don't see Amsat itself getting involved with
them.  Then on the other hand, there are some pretty smart university people
who are Amsat members and have built satellites for Amsat.  But I don't see
that as Amsat and Universities officially working together.  Those
university types just happen to have that as their job.

Perhaps my take is wrong and there is closer association.


> 
> When you can read the AMSAT business mission on page 1 or 2 of the Web site,
> you will know that AMSAT has a pretty good idea of what business AMSAT is
> in.

If I hazard a guess (I've not read it lately), one of the aspects of
business Amsat is in is promoting amateur radio in space.  To that end, we
end up with a lot of the high publicity stuff going on (ISS, AO-40, etc.).
It may be an effort to try to show that the organization is more than it
really is.  But I wouldn't say that this fault is Amsat-NA's alone as the
ISS and AO-40 projects have been somewhat international in nature.

73,

Jon
NA9D

-------------------------------------
Jon Ogden
NA9D (ex: KE9NA)

Member:  ARRL, AMSAT, DXCC, NRA

http://www.qsl.net/ke9na

"A life lived in fear is a life half lived."

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