[amsat-bb] HEO vs. LEO cost comparison

Eric Fort eric.fort at gmail.com
Sun Jan 25 18:16:57 PST 2009

I've been thinking about the LEO vs. HEO debate recently and have come to a
question, What is the cost comparison between launching 1 HEO sat vs. a
constellation of LEO sats similar to what iridium has flying?  Has this cost
analysis been done?  It seems many people just want a communications
resource that is generally available from where they are and allows multiple
simultanious (voice bandwith or wider) users.  We seem to spend way too much
time arguing over HEO vs. LEO when the real discussion seems that it should
be how to most effectively provide a communications resource that best
serves the amateur radio community in serving it's purpose as specified in
47CFR97.1 (apologies to the non-US hams on the BB but is not the outline
similar most everywhere for our service) which reads:

Section 97.1

The rules and regulations in this Part are designed to provide an amateur
radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the
public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with
respect to providing emergency communications.

(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute
to the advancement of the radio art.

(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which
provide for advancing skills in both the communications and technical phases
of the art.

(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of
trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance
international goodwill.
How can we best provide or at least contribute to this goal.  What is the
most cost effective option and how can we get there?


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