Outside of a small group of amateur radio operators and people in the NASA CSLI program, AMSAT is an unknown entity. I’m always amazed at how few ham radio operators are aware of AMSAT. I guess that little tiny advertisement in the back pages of QST isn’t doing very much good. Equally important is the complete invisibility of AMSAT in the commercial space sector. Every year there is a large show in Washington D.C. called Satellite(current year). This is a multi-day event where exhibitors from all segments of the satellite industry interact with tens of thousands of people involved in the space industry. I have attended this show since Satellite1995 as either and attendee or exhibitor. For several recent years I registered as a member of AMSAT and had the company name on my badge as AMSAT. I did this three years in a row and the only time anyone recognized the name was when they would comment “oh yeah, you are the guys that always want something for nothing”. If AMSAT wants any chance of being seriously considered for access to higher orbits by commercial industry they need to step up their game. AMSAT needs to embrace current technology applications into amateur radio. Commercial outreach needs to be a board appointed position and given at least the same weight as awards coordinator.
AMSAT has had loose affiliation with TAPR but has never truly embraced digital communications as a core technology. Higher altitude satellites can be a valuable enabler to groups active in high speed multi media, AREDN, APRS, mesh networking and point to multipoint microwave. Satellite connectivity would allow these groups to bridge the gap between nodes to form national networks with ad-hoc routing to accommodate less than 24 hour satellite coverage. Even LEOs with ad-hoc routing capability would be a tremendous asset to the groups just mentioned but also to emergency communications.
Education is one of the areas that AMSAT actually has done well in. I look forward to attracting more hams that are also educators to share their talents to expand the educational outreach to a wider and younger audience. Nothing is more inspiring to a young mind than experiencing science in real life in a way they can understand it.