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Dave Guimont wrote:

In my opinion this [ARISS] does little more than support NASA.

Bob Bruninga replied:

That is an amazing attitude, since what I see is rooms full of kids, with media and parents and all getting a few-week's-long dose of Amateur radio at its finest.

Wayne replies:

I have a rhetorical question.  When students come home all excited after an ARISS event, what do they say and what do they remember?

Mom, Dad, I talked on a ham radio!!!   (nope)

Mom, Dad, I talked to an astronaut!!!    (uh, huh)

Besides, almost half of ARISS school contacts take place with a telebridge, where the students don't even see the ham radio (or does everybody else use your clever ruse to make a telebridge seem like ham radio?)

I'm neither strongly for nor strongly against ARISS.  But I don't think there is overwhelming evidence that AMSAT derives much direct benefit from ARISS.  The "food chain" of benefits seems to be (1) NASA, (2) ham radio in general, and (3) AMSAT.

Bob also wrote:

A School ARISS contact does not cost anything either other than a lot of volunteer time and interaction with the students over a several week period.

Wayne replies:

Read the March/April AMSAT Journal to see how much money AMSAT spends for administrative support of the ARISS program.  That's the main issue.  AMSAT members supply a huge amount of volunteer labor for ARISS, and nobody is suggesting that that should stop.  But why should AMSAT fund the administrative expenses?  NASA arguably gets more benefit, and AMSAT provides volunteer labor that would cost NASA missions of dollars per year to do themselves.  Why shouldn't NASA fund the administration?

Wayne Estes W9AE
Mundelein, IL, USA
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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