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Re: Re The Moon

Mike Hooles, G3LGR, wrote:

>several months ago William and I raised the possibility of a lunar
>transpodar and were howled down. I am sure that he is as pleased as 
>I am that it has resurfaced.

This is hardly the same mission that you and William had proposed. Your
proposal was to use an Amsat-built, Amsat-funded lunar landing spacecraft.
Bob's proposal is to send an ARISS-type payload along on a NASA manned lunar
mission. The degree of difficulty is several orders of magnitude less than
trying to get there by ourselves. 

If we do pull it off, it will be because of the relationship that Amsat 
has been able to build up with NASA over the past 20 years with the Shuttle
SAREX and International Space Station ARISS programs. 

Some people have argued on Amsat-bb that ARISS has contributed nothing to
AMSAT or amateur radio. If ARISS should eventually lead to an amateur radio
station/repeater on the moon with the next manned mission, they may have to
reconsider their position. 

>I know that many would prefer to see the unit on a US mission, but do not
>forget that the Chinese are probably going there as well.
>Now if we could get one on both.........

The best way to get on a Chinese lunar mission would be to grow local Amsat
interest in the Chinese universities and among Chinese hams (what few there
are). Any flight hardware would probably have to be built by Chinese hams or
students in China. Now would be a good time to start planting those seeds, if
anyone has contacts in China.

OZ1MY wrote:

>May be the forthcoming Presidential election is the opportunity 
>we are looking for :-) Normally you can get candidates to promise 
>a lot of things during the campaign.

Candidates do promise a lot, but they just as quickly forget after taking

There are much more serious issues at stake in the coming election than Bush's
moon proposal. Although I've been a space groupie since age 5, my decision on
who to vote for will not be influenced by Bush's promise of the moon. Even if
granted a second term, Bush will be out of office when the time comes for a
future administration to make the decision to go forward. 

NASA's recent history is to cancel projects at the first sign of technical
trouble or cost overrun. Does anybody remember the X-33, or the National
Aerospace Plane? If they had managed Apollo that way, the moon program would
have been canceled after the launch pad fire. Bush's plan starts out by
grounding the shuttle and giving away the ISS to the international partners.
What assurance do we have that the Crew Exploration Vehicle will not be
canceled if (when) it runs into budget or schedule problems?

I can just see some future president or congress deciding that space
exploration can wait for a few years while we use the money to solve our
problems down here on Earth. We will have no shuttle, no space station, no
reason to keep the program alive at all. Years will become decades, and
perhaps centuries, before humanity resumes its reach into space. I do hope
that China has a successful space program because that is the last hope for
keeping the US program alive. Alexi Leonov has said that the USA and the USSR
have always had a joint space program, each one needed the other to stay alive
with their funding authorities. 

All in all, the space program is better off if it does NOT become an election
issue. There seems to be a bipartisan consensus that space should be supported
at about 0.7 % of the Federal budget. That is not likely to change no matter
who wins the White House in November. I'm not trying to start a political
discussion here. I'm just saying that it doesn't make sense to make a voting
decision in November based on which one offers the greatest support for space
exploration. It is not a big issue for either party.

Dan Schultz N8FGV

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