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Satellite on a shoestring going strongone month later - Midshipmen’s project transmits ham signals
The Baltimore Sun via U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association ^ | November 6, 2001 | Laura Sullivan

Posted on 11/09/2001 3:59:57 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum

Edited on 09/03/2002 4:49:31 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

After a month in orbit, a satellite built by Naval Academy midshipmen with off-the-shelf parts from Radio Shack is exceeding all expectations, sending and receiving messages from ham radio users around the world.

Academy students and professors hoped the satellite would work for a month, given that many of the parts they used have no history of operating in space. But since the satellite was launched from Kodiak, Alaska, on Sept. 30, it has shown no signs of degrading, and the group is hoping the satellite will work at least another year and maybe another five.


(Excerpt) Read more at sunspot.net ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
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1 posted on 11/09/2001 3:59:57 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Very, very cool......

Great Post!!!

NeverGore

2 posted on 11/09/2001 4:08:48 AM PST by nevergore
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
We should put these guys in charge of NASA, who have shown themselves incapable of doing anything but launching less and less for more and more $$.
3 posted on 11/09/2001 4:11:33 AM PST by FreedomPoster
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Freepers could get together $50,000. That would be $2/freeper and then we could build and launch:

EARTH STATION - FREEP-1

4 posted on 11/09/2001 4:14:56 AM PST by AmericaUnited
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Hey BS (Baltimore Sun) Does this satellite have a name? A number?
5 posted on 11/09/2001 4:26:10 AM PST by M_Man
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
If you care to take a look at this great project please see the PCsat, A Naval Academy Amateur Radio Satellite page.


6 posted on 11/09/2001 4:27:24 AM PST by visagoth
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
So can I expect Radio Shack to be putting out a kit for this soon?
;)
KH7ZD
7 posted on 11/09/2001 4:34:17 AM PST by pops88
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To: RadioAstronomer
BTT
8 posted on 11/09/2001 4:34:54 AM PST by Neets
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To: FreedomPoster
We should put these guys in charge of NASA......

I Agree
LOL
9 posted on 11/09/2001 4:35:38 AM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
This is the creative energy and talent we need to support and continue to inspire!

Congratulations group!
10 posted on 11/09/2001 4:44:02 AM PST by Soul Citizen
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Thanks for the post, I was wondering how this project was going.
11 posted on 11/09/2001 5:16:19 AM PST by egarvue
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Sounds like the old Soviet space program that, cost wise, had a shoe-string budget compared to NASA. They grabbed lots of off-the-shelf hardware cuz they didn't have the money to engineer and build ultra-high precision parts.

The bottom line is that maybe NASA over-engineers things, not for reliability, but because that is how it was always done historically.

I'd rather see tax dollars spent to make 10 satellites that cost $50K, even if half fail to operate, than waste $5 million on just one satellite engineered for a high probability of success. Especially if both the "cheap" and the "expensive" satellites perform the same task.

12 posted on 11/09/2001 5:38:31 AM PST by doc30
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Bump for science, amateurs, and America.
13 posted on 11/09/2001 5:43:35 AM PST by Diogenesis
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To: FreedomPoster
Then if they can develop some inexpensive delivery vehicles the guys at NASA will have to find productive work somewhere else.
14 posted on 11/09/2001 5:45:31 AM PST by Straight Vermonter
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To: Straight Vermonter
NASA is a research arm of the government. We develop technologies for missions that can then be transferred over to the commercial side to promote commerce. We stopped doing 'ping-me' satellites in probably the 70's. We've been doing more sophisticated stuff, deep space, earth science research, with more and more complex instrumentation. Much of the earth science stuff will transfer eventually to NOAA who does weather stuff. The communications capabilities that we have in space assets is to support manned and unmanned missions with very high bandwidth.

Not that I speak for NASA, it's just the way I see it. And I do applaud anyone who can build a satellite for cheap that does anything. It's a fun thing to be working on.

DC

15 posted on 11/09/2001 5:59:11 AM PST by DC Packfan
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To: pops88
Heathkit, maybe??
16 posted on 11/09/2001 6:05:24 AM PST by LN2Campy
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To: Straight Vermonter
Speaking of inexpensive delivery vehicles:

There is active interest in using maglev systems to build "sleds" that could provide initial acceleration for conventional spacecraft, possibly driving them up the side of a tall mountain. Maglev systems have been much more thoroughly investigated than railguns and coilguns, and in the space launch applications envisioned the final sled velocity would be only hundreds of kilometers per hour, and the power requirements would be manageable.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has already built two small proof-of-concept tracks, and hopes to build a larger track to fly small models. They feel that a maglev sled could be used to accelerate a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) to up to 970 KPH (600 MPH), using only about $75 USD worth of electricity and reducing the size of the RLV by 20%. The RLV would begin takeoff about halfway down the track, and the sled would be braked magnetically, allowing some of the power to be recovered, or to allow a clean recovery of the RLV in case of launch failure.

From here.

17 posted on 11/09/2001 6:16:17 AM PST by Straight Vermonter
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To: doc30
I'd rather see tax dollars spent to make 10 satellites that cost $50K, even if half fail to operate, than waste $5 million on just one satellite engineered for a high probability of success. Especially if both the "cheap" and the "expensive" satellites perform the same task.

Ha-ha! You made me spit out my coffee! Guess how much it cost for the NRO's KH-11 satellite launched last month for Afghanistan support? No, wait, just guess how many digits.
18 posted on 11/09/2001 7:30:43 AM PST by balrog666
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Cool space bump!
19 posted on 11/09/2001 7:35:16 AM PST by 6ppc
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To: CapandBall
Thought you'd get a kick outta this one...
20 posted on 11/09/2001 7:57:46 AM PST by m1911
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To: doc30
I'd rather see tax dollars spent to make 10 satellites that cost $50K, even if half fail to operate, than waste $5 million on just one satellite engineered for a high probability of success. Especially if both the "cheap" and the "expensive" satellites perform the same task.

Amateur radio satellite yes. Great job! But a precision high tech imaging, astronomy, navigation, etc. satellite? Not a chance. Most satellites and their ground-stations cost in the 50-100 million dollar range.

21 posted on 11/09/2001 11:22:42 AM PST by RadioAstronomer
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To: doc30
The bottom line is that maybe NASA over-engineers things, not for reliability, but because that is how it was always done historically.

This is where you are wrong. If a satellite/spacecraft fails, you just can't send a tech to fix it. I have sat in MANY failure analysis meetings, trying to figure out what would consist of single versus double failure modes and the probabilities of such. Redundancy costs money, but is a very necessary requirement for satellites. Also do not forget the environment is extremely harsh and most satellites are built for a 5 year lifespan or better!

22 posted on 11/09/2001 11:28:59 AM PST by RadioAstronomer
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To: RadioAstronomer
My whole point, made with arbitrary figures, involves creating many cheap systems that individually have a high probability of failure, but collectively cost significantly less than a single, expensive system. This would be like sacrificing 20% of potential performance for a system that costs (arbitrarily) 10% the cost of the expensive, high performance system.

For example, I'd love to own an expensive, foreign sports car, but I can get the same errands done with a modestly priced U.S. built sedan.

23 posted on 11/11/2001 7:48:41 PM PST by doc30
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To: doc30
The rub is the cost of getting them there. We live in a rather large gravity well and the energy required to get a significant mass to orbit is quite significant.
24 posted on 11/11/2001 8:20:05 PM PST by RadioAstronomer
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