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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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derangedhermit
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/07/09

Loc: USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5971397 - 07/14/13 11:06 PM

Quote:

I have worked with single point and commercial products. I make a pretty good living at it.

Let me say though I am heading up an open source, Space rated, Hypervisor project - the point is to provide a software environment that is extensible and taking space flight software in many respects away from the single point design you refer to. It has been publicly announced and will be involving several government, commercial and university programs. And the hypervisor can be used on cars, planes, boats, cell phones...and telescopes (a bit aggressive there). Don't worry about ITAR - it comes into play for space vehicles and aircraft only. If the core tools are used in other vehicles/systems that is fine. (Yeah, I know "Open Source" & ITAR doesn't ring well in the same sentence. LOOOONG Story. )

Anyways, my point is in this field we are getting away in many respects from the single point design. Stay tuned as they say!




Interesting to meet someone else involved in the satellite industry. I spent much of my career involved in it in one capacity or another. Engineer, project management, executive level, all of it. There is probably a large cross-section of people we both know at, for example, Intelsat, Boeing Satellite, Lockheed Martin, Hughes Network Systems (now part of Dish, of all things), Thales Alenia Space (former subsidiary of EADS), Comsat, Comtech, Andrews, iDirect, General Dynamics, Globalstar, ICO, Thaicom (was ShinSat), Thuraya, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, Telespazio, and several more.

I've been involved in the majority of the commercial and military satellite systems in at least the past decade - PM me with your involvement, let's see who we both know. How have you been engaged beyond the two study grants the web site says you have received?

Since I have written software that is currently a long way from the Earth's surface, and also running in a number of gateways, I'm curious to hear what you mean by "space-rated". This is new to me. Also, your web site seems to offer a satellite project management package, but it doesn't mention DOORS interworking; I find that a curious omission, since DOORS is the defacto standard for requirements management throughout satellite projects in the US, especially with the US military. Also I found no mention of how the software handles PDR, CDR, etc - adding these details will add credibility to your sales pitch.

I'm mildly curious in your statement about ITAR - I know you only meant it in a general way, since we both know ITAR involves much more than aeronautical gear.

/Lee


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derangedhermit
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/07/09

Loc: USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Joad]
      #5971427 - 07/14/13 11:21 PM

Quote:

Mid-range genuine RC



Waitlisted. How many have been bought and are in use? If they're out there, and work well, that would be great.


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derangedhermit
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/07/09

Loc: USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Joad]
      #5971439 - 07/14/13 11:25 PM

Quote:

Mid-range large APO

Compare this to TEC and other high end 6 inch APO refractors.



6" f/8 with mount for $6,000. Compare to 8" or 10" SCT, Newtonian or other with comparable image quality.


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A. Viegas
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/05/12

Loc: New York City/ CT
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5971442 - 07/14/13 11:27 PM

star hawk & Bremms make a very good point about the growth in the used market for scopes + accessories. When you consider the prevailing demographics in this hobby ( males over 50. ) and the fabulous growth in the accessibility of buying used (CN, Amart, eBay, Craigslist....etc) and lump in the instant reward of image download via Internet it all works against the incumbent manufacturer of new scopes and equipment. Planned obsolescence in electronic gear like CCD at least helps those dedicated astro companies but for such long lived and relatively low tech equipment as high-end OTAs and mounts, well most of the potential buyers are probably already serviced and the upgrade cycle is slow...

Ultimately to make the global market for astro gear larger you need something to galvanize the public and get new blood interested... There is talk of a relaunch of the COSMOS PBS series, perhaps that could be a good start, but barring such a renaissance of the hobby, the prognosis for Meade is just not that good... I hope they make it, ideally paired with ES which seems like a good combination...

Al


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5971465 - 07/14/13 11:42 PM

Quote:

Planned obsolescence in electronic gear like CCD at least helps those dedicated astro companies but for such long lived and relatively low tech equipment as high-end OTAs and mounts, well most of the potential buyers are probably already serviced and the upgrade cycle is slow...




There is always something new to try to grab the observers eye, in the SCT world, in the GOTO world, in the AP mount world, there are real improvements that make spending money a reasonable thing to do.

In the kind of scopes I like, yeah... When your LX-200 dies, you just maybe dead in the water. When the "electronics" on my Meade Newtonian dies, I have to look for a new clock drive..

Jon


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Joad]
      #5971471 - 07/14/13 11:45 PM

Quote:

I used these as only two examples of a vast range of mid-range equipment. Any attempt to quantify what is actually on any given observing field is purely anecdotal. For example, I would guess that there aren't a lot of new large SCTs on observing fields either. There are a lot of refractors doing AP on Mt. Pinos, and a lot of very large Dobs for visual, however. I couldn't generalize on that basis, though.




I wouldn't want to generalize on the basis of what shows up at Mt. Pinos. But I have to think that Meade SCTs are much bigger sellers than the GSO RCs.

Jon


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: derangedhermit]
      #5971477 - 07/14/13 11:49 PM

Quote:



Interesting to meet someone else involved in the satellite industry. I spent much of my career involved in it in one capacity or another. Engineer, project management, executive level, all of it. There is probably a large cross-section of people we both know at, for example, Intelsat, Boeing Satellite, Lockheed Martin, Hughes Network Systems (now part of Dish, of all things), Thales Alenia Space (former subsidiary of EADS), Comsat, Comtech, Andrews, iDirect, General Dynamics, Globalstar, ICO, Thaicom (was ShinSat), Thuraya, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, Telespazio, and several more.

I've been involved in the majority of the commercial and military satellite systems in at least the past decade - PM me with your involvement, let's see who we both know. How have you been engaged beyond the two study grants the web site says you have received?

Since I have written software that is currently a long way from the Earth's surface, and also running in a number of gateways, I'm curious to hear what you mean by "space-rated". This is new to me. Also, your web site seems to offer a satellite project management package, but it doesn't mention DOORS interworking; I find that a curious omission, since DOORS is the defacto standard for requirements management throughout satellite projects in the US, especially with the US military. Also I found no mention of how the software handles PDR, CDR, etc - adding these details will add credibility to your sales pitch.

I'm mildly curious in your statement about ITAR - I know you only meant it in a general way, since we both know ITAR involves much more than aeronautical gear.

/Lee





Lee, we may have crossed paths. I am Chairman of the Small Satellite Technical Committee at AIAA, and have been in the aero universe since 1980. I have actually had several study grants (more than the two listed) - SBIRs (Phase I, II & III), BAAs, and of course consulting with automotive, space and aviation.

Space rated per the DoD is TRL 9 for the Space Hypervisor. It will be testing on a few CubeSATs and NanoSATs and then moved onto medium and large scale satellites (Medium target test flight is 2016). We are also ramping up on several optical systems for ground and space use - so my astro interest at times goes beyond the hobby end.

DOORS, Ahhh the agony and pain of DOORS. I work with it all the time. Core development has begun on the requirements system under QuickSAT (actually a new rev). Several suppliers and almost all universities do not work with DOORS, so a tool is being developed that is more friendly than DOORS, but can interact with it - and keep the cost down.

QuickSAT is being used to support the UNP-8 PDR right now, and works through CDR and test management (it was used for CDR for UNP-7; the top winners were users of QuickSAT). Long story. Sales process has gone well; $10m+ in sales, plus it is used at AFRL, NASA/Ames and over 15 Universities and expanding. The core database is open source. QuickSAT ties into the QuickSAT/ARLX Hypervisor (Xen based, implementing ARINC 653).

I will PM the details tomorrow - I am on travel to DC for another briefing (I am tired of the travel; up at 4 am, yikes!). For more info I will be presenting at the Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah in August and Space 2013 in San Diego in September.

Yes, on ITAR. Long story.

Also, you have done a few missions - you must be over 40!

And yes, we are going to/have been be talking with numerous astro vendors - and will involve hobbyists (stay tuned folks). That is why I find this thread fascinating. Very interesting way to meet people, learn all the trends, gauge reactions, see where this industry is going, etc., etc.

For Meade to continue, I agree they may want to look into the Boutique world again, and tie into a big project or two. It seems to be the trick for DayStar, Questar and others.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5971492 - 07/15/13 12:01 AM

I hope it's a big respin of Cosmos. I borrowed the original from the library. I remembered it as a kid as an enormous amount of interesting science. But watching it now, I hadn't remembered how Carl spent 2/3 of the time going on about the wonders we would see if only we weren't spending so much on nuclear weapons and the Cold War. Of course, here we are 30 years on and now we know the wonders we had waiting were people texting and watching youtube while driving and economic bubbles every 8 months, so it's basically unwatchable. My 5 and 7 year old kids agreed.

-Rich


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Joad
Wordsmith
*****

Reged: 03/22/05

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5971494 - 07/15/13 12:02 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I used these as only two examples of a vast range of mid-range equipment. Any attempt to quantify what is actually on any given observing field is purely anecdotal. For example, I would guess that there aren't a lot of new large SCTs on observing fields either. There are a lot of refractors doing AP on Mt. Pinos, and a lot of very large Dobs for visual, however. I couldn't generalize on that basis, though.






I wouldn't want to generalize on the basis of what shows up at Mt. Pinos. But I have to think that Meade SCTs are much bigger sellers than the GSO RCs.

Jon




I'm sure they are, but that has never been my point. Please read carefully. My point was that in the 1990s Meade grew a great deal, and its place of growth was in the mid-range of expense, especially with the LX90 and LX200 series. I have only said that the mid-range has many other choices now beyond the SCT and that that can't help Meade in a shrinking market. That's all I've said. There is nothing to disagree with. I never said that mid-range RC or mid-range refractors have devastated the SCT market. I said that they have offered new alternatives to Meade's place of strength. What's to argue with?


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5971496 - 07/15/13 12:03 AM

Quote:

star hawk & Bremms make a very good point about the growth in the used market for scopes + accessories. When you consider the prevailing demographics in this hobby ( males over 50. ) and the fabulous growth in the accessibility of buying used (CN, Amart, eBay, Craigslist....etc) and lump in the instant reward of image download via Internet it all works against the incumbent manufacturer of new scopes and equipment. Planned obsolescence in electronic gear like CCD at least helps those dedicated astro companies but for such long lived and relatively low tech equipment as high-end OTAs and mounts, well most of the potential buyers are probably already serviced and the upgrade cycle is slow...

Ultimately to make the global market for astro gear larger you need something to galvanize the public and get new blood interested... There is talk of a relaunch of the COSMOS PBS series, perhaps that could be a good start, but barring such a renaissance of the hobby, the prognosis for Meade is just not that good... I hope they make it, ideally paired with ES which seems like a good combination...

Al




Al and all - yep, I agree.

Like I said, my LX200 worked wonderfully - and still does - for 22+ years. The LX850 tempted me enough to purchase another major telescope after all these years (yes, Rich, it tempted me, lol).

But think about it - my purchases have been really few and far between. The optics, if well taken care of, pretty much will last for a very, very long time. It will clearly outlive the electronics. How does a company make money when purchases are few and far between? I was happy forever with the 10" LX200. Yes, there are telescope hoarders and collectors, but most wives keep them at bay, lol.

I wonder about this glut of equipment. For example...I was eyeing the iOptron ZEQ25. I just want a light weight grab and go mount for the PST, 80mm and maybe 115mm APO. Mostly visual, and maybe some AP using the Canon 60Da and lens (the rest of the AP will be on the LX850). Then I saw all this chatter about the LXD75. Did a little checking and found for the most part this was a very good little mount. So instead of buying a new ZEQ25, I just bought me a great condition, 3 year old LXD75 for only $400.

There is a lot of used stuff out there, a lot of it in good condition. The market may be saturated in many sectors.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5971506 - 07/15/13 12:25 AM

Basically everyone's bound to have a limit at some point. I already have 10 scopes. Something has to have a different f/# or something to get interesting.

-Rich

Edited by Starhawk (07/15/13 07:37 AM)


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: shadowpdiggity]
      #5971520 - 07/15/13 12:36 AM

Quote:

So does all this mean my lx80 won't ever be fixed?




I think you may be holding your breath for a while on that one.


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5971525 - 07/15/13 12:48 AM

You know when I expect to see a real drop in the astronomy hobby? It's when the baby boomers (generally considered to be those of us born between 1946 and 1964) have all passed on. We are the children of the beginning and peak of the government-sponsored space age and are the most common people with both the money and time to be well invested in this hobby. Just look at the population at your average astronomy club, mostly older and mostly men. I am at the very tail end of the official baby boom (and thus still working without sufficient time or money) but we are at about its middle to peak years right now in regard to the age of people who are well into the hobby. As this group tapers off, then I would not be surprised to see the hobby decline. That is when we may see a true drop in the hobby's popularity and population unless something happens to really change things (maybe the commercial space race will make a difference). For now, I don't see things as being all that bad, regardless of Meade's likely demise. So far, as one company declines there are still others rising, both large and small. When companies start disappearing with no new ones stepping up, then we are in trouble. I do note a stronger trend to imaging and higher-end equipment. This again reflects people with both available time and money.

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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5971597 - 07/15/13 02:23 AM

Gday Andrew

Quote:

How does a company make money when purchases are few and far between?




One way would be to provide properly designed upgrades for older mount electronics/drives that could be sold as kits and retrofitted.
ie create a new niche market

People who wont spring for a new scope, or the high cost to send something to Mexico might buy a factory backed upgraded electronics set
or a better gear upgrade set etc.
Put a good markup on it and see what happens.
It works for the car industry, and there have to be a lot of scopes sitting out there unused for the sake of a few bits.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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cn register 5
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/26/12

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5971654 - 07/15/13 04:22 AM

The impression I get is that Meade saw Celestron as their only competitor and set out to beat them, not by making and selling better products but by trying to destroy Celestron.

I'm referring to the patent wars of the early to mid 2000s on which we hear that Meade spent $15M. If the profits over that period had been increased by $15M their numbers would have looked considerably different.

Meanwhile in the real world there were all sorts of other manufacturers coming along, Synta, iOptron, GSO and so on. They occupied the middle ground, where I suspect most of the profit is, with practical, reliable equipment at a good price.

Chris


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Joad]
      #5971693 - 07/15/13 05:11 AM

Quote:



I'm sure they are, but that has never been my point. Please read carefully. My point was that in the 1990s Meade grew a great deal, and its place of growth was in the mid-range of expense, especially with the LX90 and LX200 series. I have only said that the mid-range has many other choices now beyond the SCT and that that can't help Meade in a shrinking market. That's all I've said. There is nothing to disagree with. I never said that mid-range RC or mid-range refractors have devastated the SCT market. I said that they have offered new alternatives to Meade's place of strength. What's to argue with?




I agree that there Meade's decline corresponds with an increase in quality scopes from Asian.

But Celestron seems to be doing fine in the "midrange" SCT marketplace, it looks to me that the real problem is competition for the SCT dollar from Celestron rather than from refractors and specialty imaging scopes from Asia. Celestron seems to be thriving in this market and it does seem that Meade's decline is coincident with Celestron's rise.

Jon


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EFT]
      #5971700 - 07/15/13 05:21 AM

Quote:

Just look at the population at your average astronomy club, mostly older and mostly men. I am at the very tail end of the official baby boom (and thus still working without sufficient time or money) but we are at about its middle to peak years right now in regard to the age of people who are well into the hobby. As this group tapers off, then I would not be surprised to see the hobby decline.




I think that astronomy club membership is a poor indicator of who is participating in this hobby. Modern Clubs and personal contacts are online. Whether it's Twitter or Cloudy Nights, for the younger observer, the internet is where it happens, these are the modern clubs and younger observers are here... This makes an interesting read:

Age Poll of Astronomers

The number of non-baby boomers is substantial.

Jon

Edited by Jon Isaacs (07/15/13 05:23 AM)


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5971776 - 07/15/13 07:42 AM

I'm not a baby boomer, for example.

-Rich


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: cn register 5]
      #5971789 - 07/15/13 08:11 AM

And part of this was a business model more on out-competing others in their central competencies. But that's one thing when you're apple bringing in the iPod. It's something else entirely when it means superficial copies with reduced performance at full price. I'm afraid Meade always looked after the pretty paint job more than design execution.

So, yes, I would guess they had many internal discussions about how to stamp out Celestron once and for all. Obviously they expected bringing Celestron to its knees would bring about a golden age. Instead, it created a large number of enemies, not only amongst other vendors who clearly saw an eventual threat, but amongst consumers who would never forgive that behavior, and had ready means for a lifetime of revenge.

There's a definition of waste for a business: Waste is anything you do your customers will not pay you more to do more of. It turns out amateur astronomers aren't interested in paying some company to destroy others in the hobby, so there was no hope for a direct benefit from doing this. But it also polarized the manufacturing community. Notice how after the Meade lawsuit against celestron, the RC manufacturers ganged up on Meade and their dealers in the RCX lawsuit. That was a tit-for-tat which obviously caught Meade by surprise. And I have to wonder if you ask for a quote as Meade if you get the same deal as anyone else.

Ask this question: what blood feuds are left in amateur astronomy with Meade's departure? It seems to me everyone else in the business learned something from this.

-Rich

Quote:

The impression I get is that Meade saw Celestron as their only competitor and set out to beat them, not by making and selling better products but by trying to destroy Celestron.

I'm referring to the patent wars of the early to mid 2000s on which we hear that Meade spent $15M. If the profits over that period had been increased by $15M their numbers would have looked considerably different.

Meanwhile in the real world there were all sorts of other manufacturers coming along, Synta, iOptron, GSO and so on. They occupied the middle ground, where I suspect most of the profit is, with practical, reliable equipment at a good price.

Chris




Edited by Starhawk (07/15/13 08:23 AM)


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jimb1001]
      #5971875 - 07/15/13 09:19 AM

Quote:



If they didn't it's because they were funding all the R&D
And customer service for everything else from that line.

Where do you think they were getting that money?




Negative. It's because for relatively small businesses selling to Walmart is a losing game. Where were they getting that money? From the Advanced Series, and other scopes down to the ETX. Not from 60mms they bought for almost nothing, but had to sell to WallyWorld for almost nothing.


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