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Re: Orbital Classroom -Where is it?????????

Well AMSAT does have a director of Education but unfortunately I don't see
too much happening.
I fully support your Idea, and in time past there was so many good papers at
the symposium on the (then being built)
Satellites that they were a complete technical education program. I recall
the various members of the AO-40 team explaining about every system being
designed and the problems encountered and the solutions, etc
Similarly the means of heat dissipation (AO-40) and stabilization of the
spacecraft (A0-40 & Microsats). So much good stuff that it made our heads
One came away from the Meetings with determination to see the projects
completed even if it meant "Empty Pockets!"
I would like to hope that through your initiative we could return to those
days..... This is not to take anything away from Eagle or P4 but to
supplement those programs.
Robin Haighton VE3FRH
Past President AMSAT

-----Original Message-----
From: amsat-bb-bounces@amsat.org [mailto:amsat-bb-bounces@amsat.org] On
Behalf Of Stefan Wagener
Sent: December 20, 2007 11:19 PM
To: amsat-bb@amsat.org
Subject: [amsat-bb] Orbital Classroom -Where is it?????????

Hi folks,

Having read through many, many emails about Eagle, GEO's and other stuff I
would like to introduce an idea that has captured me for a few years (!) now
and has never come up. We all agree (I assume) that amateur radio and
satellites is a great combination and fun. I assume most of us love it and
those that don't at least make a living from it otherwise they wouldn't do
it. In addition, the big majority of us have some grey hairs, but we are
still trying to learn and challenge our brains (scary thought). Having said
that, when I came back from the AMSAT annual meeting (symposium) this year I
felt we missed a great opportunity and to be more specific we have absolute
nothing in place to teach and educate our members and the community. Yes, we
go to hamfests and events and have a pretty PowerPoint or in the "parking
lot" demo, but where are the courses, the classes that help us better
understand for example the orbital mechanics of a satellites, the satellite
communication principles for VHF and UHF, the design of L and S band
antennas? All the stuff that goes beyond our basic license and would keep us

I look at the ARRL and see many exciting courses and AMSAT has nothing in
place. Some of the material has been written up and I applaud Gould Smith
and others that took the time to write these documents. 

The problem is that they are books! No interaction, no feedback, etc. I
believe we can do so much more.

Why don't we have pre-conference courses at AMSAT meetings that allow our
participants to learn? Why don't we offer certificates for continuing
education based on accomplishments in learning and become much more
educated? Where is the course on emergency preparedness and satellites (GEOs
anyone). How do I interpret two line Keppler data and what will happen if I
modify some of those numbers (ANDE re-entry anyone)? How about a basic
course in SRD or building small beautiful satellites and lessons learned
(Bob Bruninga's ideas). All this would add value, probably generate some
resources for AMSAT (course fees) and make us proud of learning and sharing
knowledge and not just opinions. For example, I would have no problem adding
$ 30 -50 to my registration fee for the AMSAT symposium and having a full
day workshop. Everyone else is doing it and all the conferences I go to.

No, I am not talking about amateur satellite 101 for newcomers (that still
is important), I am talking about "meat" for those that are part of the
hobby already and want to move to the next level of knowledge. We have
thousands of members and our pool of potential instructors is big. I would
highly encourage the board to seriously look at this. I know that Rick
Hambly is fully committed to make the education a bigger part of AMSAT and
we need to support him. I for one have no problem in teaching and
volunteering for a course at the next AMSAT meeting but it would be very
nice if you share your thoughts about this. Maybe it is just me and everyone
else is fine but maybe the next "Orbital Classroom" is finally that, a
classroom and not just a two page paper in the journal!


Have a great Christmas and Holiday Season and many contacts in 2008. 


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Sent via AMSAT-BB@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program!
Subscription settings: http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb