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Re: ARISS Benefits AMSAT

Bob Bruninga wrote:

Who is this "we"?  AMSAT, or you personally? 
I maintain that AMSAT and HAM radio in space IS the primary beneficiary...

Wayne replies:

When I wrote that "We provide most of the labor", I am referring to AMSAT's collective gift to ARISS in the form of thousands of hours of volunteer labor.  The AMSAT Board meeting minutes that estimate that AMSAT members' volunteer labor to ARISS would cost millions of dollars for NASA to do themselves.  It's wonderful that AMSAT has an abundance of ARISS volunteers.

If you believe that AMSAT is a primary beneficiary of ARISS, please enumerate the specific benefits.  Publicity?  Not much, compared to what NASA and ARRL get.  New members?  Talent?  Money?  Does "a good feeling" ensure AMSAT's survival?  Quite a few of us believe that NASA is the main beneficiary, and ham radio in general is a secondary beneficiary.  The primary activity of ARISS is school contacts, and NASA could and would do that without ham radio if necessary (probably more easily than with ham radio).

Bob wrote:

Where do you get the opinion "clearly" and "most"?  That is not clear to
me at all.

Wayne replies:

Read the board meeting minutes to see how little money AMSAT members earmarked to ARISS compared to other projects.  Member dues only cover AMSAT's overhead.  Project money comes from donations.  Some donations aren't earmarked, but the vast majority of earmarked donations are NOT for ARISS.  I think that's a valid way to determine the interests and priorities of AMSAT members.  We vote with our checkbooks.  Do you have a better way to determine the interests and priorities of AMSAT members?

Bob wrote:

I don't think "most" would be willing to let ARISS die.

Wayne replies:

I'm NOT advocating killing ARISS.  I doubt that anybody else is either.  I'm advocating that AMSAT shouldn't pay for ARISS out of project funds that most AMSAT members expect to be used for satellite construction and launch.  I'm advocating that AMSAT should aggressively seek alternative funding sources for ARISS.  NASA and ARRL are obvious candidates because they derive significant benefit from ARISS (much more than AMSAT does, in my opinion).  And there are many other companies and foundations we could solicit.
Read the Board meeting minutes.  AMSAT is in a desperate financial condition.  Drastic measures must be taken to ensure AMSAT's survival.  One partial remedy is for AMSAT to quit subsidizing ARISS.  Like I wrote earlier today, AMSAT funding ARISS seems like poor AMSAT giving money to rich NASA.

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