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Joe mentioned ...
> I remember quite a surge of fund raising prior to getting AO40 launched 

Hams around the world pretty much paid for AO-40 and its ride with private
donations. Its great that everyone dug in and met the funding goal - thank
you! I had fun for a short time on AO-40, getting a station nearly going
near the end.

AO-40 seems to have been one of the last subsidized/discounted launch
opportunities. Getting to orbit with the real price quotes we get in today's
space-as-a-business-model, we seem to hear $6 Million with a straight face
from the launching agency.
A few things may be going on here:

1. The launch agency is telling us to go away knowing there is little 
   likelihood of a bunch of hams coming back with $6 Million.

2. Amateur radio isn't making a good enough business case to fit into the 
   space-as-a-business-model when we propose we're flying a radio for
   a bunch of guys to yack on.  Oh, emergency? Well you see, if enough
   of the guys are available on the weekend we might help.  School?
   Sure, if they have an antenna and some kids got their license.

I'd guess we need to fix #2 so we can go back with $6 Million to fix #1.  It
has been said several times: There is not much chance amateur radio
operators will raise that $6 Million with bake sales, car washes, private
wallets (wouldn't it be excellent to have a wallet like that!).

To fit into today's space business environment AMSAT needs to create a
mission that excites potential funding sources.  Emergency Management is
excited by the possibility of many-hours or 24 hour access to a satellite
supporting emergency communications.  Schools are excited at the prospect of
student access to space with perhaps hours-long access to an experiment on
ISS with TDRSS-like functionality instead of a 10 minute QSO with an

Once we've made a business-case for our mission and a funding/grant source
has agreed we'll be on our way.  Yes, deliver the promised mission ... and
in the meantime we'll be keeping those transponders warmed up ... we get to
yack but you can't say that in a grant request. 

> Those who wish to continue to have philosophical disagreements on the 
> Eagle design concept and process are welcome to do so.

It's just my observation, but a lot of the philosophical discussion is
trying to find a way to build a mission ... not just a satellite.  The
overall mission includes paying for the satellite we want to yack on.

73 de JoAnne K9JKM

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