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RE: where does our money go?


Thanks for your questions. I am sure they are on the
minds of many.  Firstly, I do not speak for AMSAT-NA
or anyone other than myself.  But given that caveat,
please let give up my not so humble opinions. ;-).

-----Original Message-----
From: joseph Murray [mailto:k0vty@juno.com]
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2003 21:47
To: rwmcgwier@comcast.net; amsat-bb@amsat.org
Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] where does our money go?


>A few simple questions, maybe not so simple an answer,  please

>AO-13 had each of the main components needed to operate as a Ham
>transponder in space
>Question # 1
>Why was it necessary to build all the new components ? ( not counting the
>added capability ) 

I do not believe it is necessary to build all new components and
we do not do this. But there is a long time between these HEO
spacecraft and sometimes parts availability becomes a serious
issue when dealing with finding 10,15, and 20 year old parts.
How would you like to find a 20 year old Cosmac 1802 CPU running
at 1/2 Mhz so we could use the AO-13 CPU?  It has to be
rad hard and the secret stash that fell off the mesa's of
New Mexico labs is long long gone.  Good ideas are not things that
are planned.  They can spring up at any time including right
in the middle of integration!  Sometimes the ideas are so
overwhelmingly good, they must be acted on.  This happens
more frequently than you think along with the OH S%^&, we
should have done this as well as the WTF, this isn't working.
It happens all to often.

>Question # 2
>What can't the plans for AO-13 be re constructed .

They can be and again we need to learn from mistakes and to replace
things where we can no longer find parts. In some cases, the designers
and builders are no longer around. Let me be repetitive and expand
on an earlier statement.   Werner Haas, who built transponders
for AO-10 and AO-13, and AO-40 is dead.  That is an almost irreplaceable
loss.  I suspect Karl is having some trouble with finding a truly
adequate replacement to Werner who was really the bedrock of Karl's
operation (May our dear departed friend rest in peace).  I am having
trouble in deciding who I think needs Werner more, his beloved Roselle
or Karl Meinzer and I have my suspicions that Roselle loved him more
but did not truly need him as much as Karl did. He was the rock on
which Karl stood for two decades in my opinion.  Many misunderstood
Werner but he and I had a rapport and I liked him immensely. I think
it was the kinship of the outspoken!  I miss the private needling email
or snail mail he sent me a couple of times a year. Werner took no
prisoners in his interactions but he was utterly loyal once you became
one of the people he trusted.  I would give a lot to have been able to
not have to do my job and have gone hunting with him one more time
but it was not to be.

>Question #3
>Why does it seem that the only way for the next bird is redesign .
>I know that we learn as we go and it logical to improve systems .
>At funding times like we current seem to have why can't we just fall back
>on what we know worked.

I don't think we need to do complete redesigns but some will need to
be done for the reasons mentioned before. But again, there are two
motivations in this organization. Promoting the use of space for
communications and education in its use and number, and building
satellites in a hobby like atmosphere.

We have to face cold hard facts about volunteers.  They do what they
want to do for the most part.  We have had, and continue to have,
extremely highly qualified prima donnas, err uuhh, I mean engineering
talent and they are simply not interested in rolling another one'
out just like the last one.  In design meetings I used to gauge
the quality of the interactions by how many times some your favorite
prima donnas,  err uuhhhh, engineers would threaten to resign and
take all their work with them.  We have to be practical in dealing
with the talented.   I have as big an ego as the next guy and I know
I would not be happy to be ordered to repeat an old widget were I still
involved in any great way.  I would probably say that you don't need
me, get a high school student to repeat the work and go off to do
something else.  That is what this eclectic bunch of folks we have

Thanks for listening to the peanut gallery.


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