Wednesday, October 24, 2012

German Space Agency Rejects AMSAT-DL Mars Plan

After five years of discussions and negotiations with the German space agency DLR, AMSAT-DL reports that the agency has withdrawn its support for the amateur satellite organization's plan to send a ham radio satellite to Mars, the so-called "P5" satellite. According to the AMSAT News Service, the agency advised the group that P5's mission was financially infeasible and that "the scientific attraction was, compared with the current Mars missions, insufficient." 

"Obviously, our P5 mission is now compared with regular missions which cost hundreds of millions of Euro," said the AMSAT-DL board in a statement. The decision also affects plans for a geostationary Earth-orbiting satellite (P3E), which was to be part of the overall P5 program. AMSAT-DL officials are not giving up hope, though, noting that the group "recently had some interesting meetings in China and if we can't do rocket science in (Germany), we have to look for other countries."