Monday, August 14, 2006

Cubesat Conference

Attending this year's cubesat conference was quite interesting. With the unsuccessful launch of our two satellites only a few weeks previously, has caused me to reflect as to what exactly I am doing here. There were funds left over from the program, which were to be used with operations related to tracking the satellites. Of course, we would not receive money for the actual act, because these are amateur satellites, but, this was for building any ground support equiptment and other such tasks needed.

I have come to a few conclusions. The program at the University of Arizona is largely dead. I don't know what can be done to save it. I have, however, come up with a few ideas. The best idea which I have is related to building a class which has the purpose to build satellites, and teach students how to do so. I don't know what the interest would be, but it has the potential to be quite useful Other than that, I'm not sure what can happen to the program... It's so sad, after so many years of fighting, we've just died out... If only we can get the support from the college. I have decided that I will write to our new college president, in support of the program. I'm not sure what else I might be able to do, but, that will likely be my start.

NASA and the future education of our country

I am currently a participant in the 20th Small Satellite Conference that is taking place in Logan, Utah. The keynote speaker of the conference was Mike Griffon, Director of NASA.

As is evident from some of my posts, I am a member of my University's Student Sattellite Program. It was asked by two different people, one student and one other, what was NASA's role as a provider for student technology into space. When he was asked quite simply for the opportunity to launch, Mike stated, NASA can't afford it.

This to me is an outrage! NASA, who would spend tons of money on so very many things, can't afford $10 million to help students launch their projects into space. This is a long term project, but one which will have so very many dividends. Space technology will be greatly enabled to do the right thing, to have more aerospace engineers. It will allow for greater inovation, for experiments which can be done on a very limited buget. It will allow NASA to save money in the few years range, for they will not have to train as much their engineers. Unfortunatly, "NASA cannot afford it" was the answer.

I have decided to take up arms, so to speak, about this subject. I will take a more active lead into moving for a change in the US government to more freely allow for space access to student projects. Look for me in coming days with letters related to this subject.