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Re: One question for the BoD candidates....


>From what I've seen of AMSAT's membership history it seems clear to me
that the one most consistant thing which makes AMSAT thrive is
operational HEO spacecraft.  That is one of the reasons I believe so
strongly in AMSAT's vision of not just a single HEO spacecraft but
recognizing that we must always have 'the next one' under construction.
It simply takes too long to properly design and thoroughly test a
satellite to wait until one on orbit begins showing signs of age.  If we
are to avoid these long idle periods in the future, we must always have
at least two HEOs in orbit and a thrid under construction if not also in

Another reality is that the launch market has substantially changed.
For example, Lockheed-Martin now advertises a typical timeline of 12
months from contract to launch with a capability of 4 months.  With that
type of responsivness on the part of the launcher, it is no longer
possible to wait until a launch contract is signed to get serious about
construction.  Finding a means to launch Eagle is absolutely essential
and I think our multi-pronged approach has the best chance of success.
AMSAT's Treasurer, Gunther Meisse, W8GSM, has been doing substanial
leg-work laying a foundation to support our National Fund Raising
Campaign.  At the same time for the last several years I've been working
to identify additional launch opportunities through other organizations
and learning how their processes for identifying and awarding launch
opportunities work.  

Regarding "new blood", I've been actively working with several
Universities on their University Nanosat and Cubesat projects.  One of
my primary objects is to help them understand the rules that apply to
operating in the amateur radio and amateur satellite services as well as
seeing themselves as part of the larger community of ham radio
operators.  Some have joined AMSAT, others have gotten their school's
club station involved in their satellite project,  and some are now
starting to consider how their satellites can be useful to the general
amateur community in addition to their primary experimental and
educational objectives.

Finally you are correct, space is a risky and very unforgiving
environment.  However, it is managable by careful and detailed review of
the designs before things are built and then thorough testing aftwards.
This brings us back to the timelines I discussed earlier and the need to
be actively supporting and building Eagle NOW. Rushing to meet a launch
date is a proven recipe for things going badly.

In my previous email responding to Stefen's questions I discussed our
need to involve more people in the working of AMSAT so I won't belabor
the point here. We as AMSAT's leadership need to do a better job of
communicating those needs so that people who have those skills have the
opportunity to pitch in and contribute those talents.

Lee McLamb, KU4OS

On Sun, 2006-07-30 at 18:09 -0700, Dave hartzell wrote:
> Hello,
> One question for the candidates:
> What are you planning to do to ensure a healthy, stable future for
> AMSAT?  Space is a risky, expensive business, often a $0.50 part away
> from failure.  The amateur ranks are stagnant and there is a
> perception that little "new blood" is coming into the activity.
> If any of you could shed some light on your opinion about AMSAT's
> future, I would greatly appreciate your comments, as would other
> members I'm sure.  Please share some ideas about collaboration,
> sponsorship, education, fundraising, member grooming etc. if you have
> any.
> Thanks for volunteering your time and effort to AMSAT!
> 73,
> Dave
> ----
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Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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