[amsat-bb] Only Half of the CubeSats Deployed into Space Work

Robert McGwier rwmcgwier at gmail.com
Fri Jun 17 18:16:19 UTC 2016

Nothing would be more embarrassing to me than to be one of the cockiest
schools in the United States, thinking that any student that goes there is
highly superior to any other around,  and then to have Lockheed Martin help
them.....  and to never be heard from at all after launch...   That would
not be in the state I am in so that I don't get in trouble with the
government of the state I am in.....

Space is a mean nasty place.  Hard Vacuum, very energetic particles
slamming you, micrometeorites and space junk clobbering, computers
GUARANTEED to get into a failure mode, with probability 1.  And then what
do you do?  Most don't know. Only experience tells you how not to have a
dead computer or one acting in  a stupid way and how to fix it.

Everyone fails.  Ask AMSAT.  Our spacecraft have gotten better, less
complex, but better at achieving the mission without failures.

Our big efforts all were partially successful or failed at launch or are
Microsats.  The Microsats succeeded, 100%.   What a team we had.  It was
made up of people who did things like, oh, coin the word cubesat and
introduce the concept to the world,    go on to be worth hundreds of
millions of dollars and in at least one case, probably billions,  work at
the highest possible levels of government in highly technical fields and
then start multiple companies on retirement, .....  some even still work in
the Aerospace industry.  Best team ever:  Microsat team.   Best technical
individual on any AMSAT team ever: Karl Meinzer.

The formula for success is good people with time to do the job right with
luck and resources.  Have good people who are dedicated to the task and
then get lots of free help.

The US government gave us environmental testing for Microsat.  They wanted
to make sure the team could test their spacecraft (we were the test dummys)
 which was in the chamber next  to us. I know who paid for it and what it
was and if I told you I would have to kill you ;-).

Children in high school with teachers who might know how to spell the word
spacecraft and hold a smartphone are not capable of the level of technical
expertise needed.

Things are getting better.  You can just buy a good spacecraft now.  It
costs about 2-3 times as much as building one.  With a 50% chance of
failure, that means you should buy the thing and even then your payload is
likely to fail with a perfectly functional bus.



More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list