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Re: The University <-> AMSAT relation, was: _ube sat pay load



Hello Assi,

Thank you for posting a well constructed analysis.  I can see you're point
with the first group.  I am left with some questions about your perspective
on the second group.

> The second group consists of the universities that want to build
> spacecraft
> for sake of building spacecraft. These universities put technology and
> education as their goal and therefore want to build their own spacecraft.
> They don't want a kit spacecraft, and don't want standard capabilities -
> they want to develop their own - that's why they do it.

Why wouldn't providing an amateur transponder fill the need to do
"something"?  Lots of other projects could then be designed to take
advantage of the generic communications capability in addition to supporting
the general goals of the amateur radio service.

> In an unnamed event with a
> government sponsor several years ago, there was an attempt to suggest the
> universities use a "standard bus" with standard core components. The
> universities all objected to it for the simple reason that it voids their
> space-research efforts (can't blame them).

But in effect they are using standard blocks by stripping down HTs and TNCs
for their communications systems.

>Another
> important note is that most departments sponsoring spacecraft projects are
> not EE or Communications departments, but Mechanical and Aerospace!
> Therefore, their prime interest is in aerospace technologies - i.e.
> attitude
> control, bus structures and mechanisms - not communications protocols. To
> date, I don't know of a single EE department sponsoring a spacecraft in
> order to perform radio communications experiments.

I think you may have hit on the main, previously unrecognized disconnect
between the two organization's efforts.  Why don't the Mechanical and
Aerospace departments seek out the support of their own Communications
department?  Is the lack of EE department construction due to the fact that
they haven't identified or been suggested a "communications" oriented
mission to fill?

> We can't align ourselves
> with the second group as well because the don't want a design shoved down
> their throat, and they are not interested in communications experiments!

Is there a third group, an EE college perhaps, where we could find common
goals to work toward?

> An excellent example of this is the attached correspondence. A student
> asking for ideas, hams responding with "sure, just provide us with xyz
> SERVICE" and the student coming back to say "come on, give me REAL
> research,
> not just an FM repeater".... Last, hams coming back with how important
> this SERVICE is for hams.

Actually the initial inquiry was extremely open-ended with no mention of
research at all:
  >>A School in my area is thinking about building a cube sat . This is a
  >>satellite that is 4 inches cube weighting < 2 pounds. The size and
  >>weight
  >>constraints implies a power budget of < 4 watt-hours per orbit max. The
  >>questions for the group is what kind of pay load could you suggest to
  >>fly?

> Do you folks get the idea? Universities want thesis
> opportunities, not to become service providers for the ham community. A
> bent
> pipe FM repeater, linear transponder, APRS, PSK31 hardly falls into
> research
> category. The funniest thing about this going back and forth is that the
> students initial email proves my thesis here. Note that in his initial
> email
> he asked us for a "reason" to build a spacecraft. Easy to tell which
> university group he falls into - isn't it?

After the initial round of inputs, the question was clarified a little which
probably puts the project that started this thread into the second group.
However, don't  people in the communications departments need thesis
material too?  Some ideas along those lines are starting to float up now
that the requirements are better known.

Thank you again for your post Assi.  You're observations are quite helpful
to me and have opened up some new lines of thought to pursue.

73,
Lee-KU4OS
AMSAT LM2022

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