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AMSAT-NA President report

Här kommer AMSAT-NAs ordförandes (Rick Hamly, W2GPS) rapport från 2007 AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting; vart är amatörradiosatelliterna och AMSAT-NA på väg? Läs och begrunda:

Over the past year AMSAT has developed a well-defined mission and vision for an exciting future of amateur radio in space. In fact, some of the items we have discussed here at the Symposium may perhaps become known as the weekend that changed amateur radio.

In response to input from the members, AMSAT’s Board of Directors and Officers have undertaken a clearly defined Mission and Vision of our current and on-going work:

AMSAT’s Mission Statement

     + AMSAT designs, builds and operates experimental satellites and
       promotes space education as a non-profit, volunteer organization.
     + AMSAT develops and fosters partnerships with government, industry,
       educational institutions and fellow amateur radio societies.
     + AMSAT leads the way on technical and scientific innovation.
     + AMSAT develops and fosters an environment encouraging the
       training and development of designers and operators.

AMSAT’s Vision Statement

     + AMSAT will deploy high earth orbit (HEO) satellites, initially
       with daily coverage, evolving to continuous coverage.
     + AMSAT will participate in human space missions.
     + AMSAT will support a stream of LEO satellites which are developed
       in cooperation with the educational community and other amateur
       satellite groups.

The New Reality

Going forward, we are realizing a new reality of the future of Amateur Radio in space. There is a distinct shift away from the aegis of government/military sponsored spaceflight to a field that will be more and more driven by commercial consideration. This development signifies that space missions will become driven by a business-case model. While our new missions will provide great new services to the Amateur Radio community, we cannot afford to pay millions for them.

The reality is that no one will pay for more "toys" for us to play with. To gain the funding necessary our missions must excite the funding sources. AMSAT will be required to fit into the business-case models of just about every launch opportunity we wish to pursue in the future.

Your Board of Directors and Officers have identified two key areas which capture the attention and imagination of potential funding sources:

     + Education – The Phase IV geosynchronous satellite will enable
       TDRS-like support of ARISS. Ten minute school contacts will grow
       to hours-long contact with the Space Station. We are working on
       an expanded curriculum with the ARISS and NASA teams. We are
       planning the establishment of the AMSAT Institute which will
       train educators to bring space into the classroom using AMSAT’s
       Phase IV facilities in conjunction with ARISS.

     + Emergency Communications – The Advanced Communications Payload
       is being co-developed as spaceflight and ground station gear
       available for rapid deployment or pre-positioning into disaster
       areas to provide 365/24/7 communication capability. This proposal
       is gaining some attention within the Homeland Security organization.

AMSAT’s Current Development Plans

Consistent with our Vision Statement we are continuing development of Phase III satellites. Budget and staffing for the Eagle satellite will continue for 2007-2008.

AMSAT-NA is contributing staff and money toward completing AMSAT-DL’s Phase 3 Express Satellite in 2008. AMSAT-NA teamed with AMSAT-UK to donate 25,000 Euros to AMSAT-DL for the completion of P3E.

Phase IV is not a replacement program at the expense of Phase III. The same transponder gear already in development for Eagle and P3E remains applicable to Phase IV. The new commercial launch reality mentioned previously indicates we may actually be able to be launched earlier to a high orbit if we fit into the Intelsat ride sharing model. We need to be ready for this event.

Phase IV will enable AMSAT to concentrate more fully on the development of space communications. The Intelsat platform will provide hundreds of watts of power for 15 years eliminating the need for AMSAT to provide solar cells, it will perform the station keeping and earth pointing tasks, internal housekeeping will be simplified.

Once we have shown funding sources what AMSAT is capable of additional launch opportunities will arise. Intelsat can drop off sub-payloads into LEO, GTO, or GEO orbits on their way to their primary mission.
There are more doors open to the future if we realize and pursue the new reality.

I invite you join AMSAT’s exciting future. As we recognize and work within the new reality of commercial spaceflight we will provide exciting new services for amateur radio, emergency preparedness, and education. The side effect of developing "services" will be that we still gain what everyone is asking – high orbit transponders for us to use and enjoy. AMSAT is to satellites what the Wright brothers were to flight. We are "Amateur" only in the sense that we are not paid in much the same sense that Olympic athletes are "Amateurs."


Rick Hamly, W2GPS
President, AMSAT-NA



Webmaster and member of the AMSAT-SM steering group.

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