Amateur Radio Operators Launch Another Spacecraft

Is it just me or shouldn’t others be amazed at what we can do when we try?

I know everyone knows that the world’s countries and private entities have launched a myriad of spacecraft into Earth orbit over the past 60 years. Heck, I worked at JPL/Caltech for 17 years and got to participate in a number of projects which are orbiting Earth right now or on their way to or have already completed missions to other planets.

But the concept that “regular people” (ok, they’re hams, but other than that, they’re regular people) can get organized well enough and for long enough that they can actually construct and launch into Earth orbit a spacecraft is always an amazing thing!

So a bunch of hams, who had an idea, are able to get the attention of the wheels of industry, government, and whatever, and actually get a working satellite and then use it for radio communications. In a way, what they did isn’t new or innovative, it isn’t the highest technology that’s in space or on the ground, it’s not the ubiquitous cell phone communications, but it is a huge and challenging accomplishment, and a testament to what any of us can do if we get together and put our minds to it.

The cool thing about being a ham (as I am, N7UV is my US-FCC-issued call sign) is that if you pay attention and have a mind to do it, you can start to understand the highly technological world around us. It’s less of a mystery, but it’s never less magical. What I mean is that it’s so frickin’ cool what can be done with technology, and all you need to do is understand the basics of it and you can do great stuff.

Whether you want to change the world or just add new technology to your home or personal life, understanding the basics of it helps you understand what it took and why it took so much effort and people-years/centuries to make it possible. A good broad education and an appreciation of history, especially of science, but also of all the political bits, makes me continually amazed that us ape-people have actually gotten this far.

Cheers to the Duchifat-1 CubeSAT team, and to those who cheered them on.