[amsat-bb] Re: ITAR is interesting to me

Samudra Haque samudra.haque at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 08:24:12 PDT 2009

Bob, Bruce et. al.,

This is probably a very reasonable thread of discussion to follow,
compared to other snippy comments/jibes/frivolous remarks that I have
seen on amsat-bb recently. I have started up a separate private thread
to allow us to discuss a managed bulletin board to supplement the open
mailing list to accomodate:

+ potential need to have a closed community of registered members
discussing itar-covered topics

+ a searchable archive of topics, posts that users can leave in the
archive on a permanent basis and stop repeating ad nauseum

+ optional open-forums and closed-forums depending upon the
affiliation of a particular member. An example of this is the IEEE,
which as an organization provides the IEEE scanner publication to all,
but only the referred journals/publications to members who are part of
 a particular society. So, if you not a member of the AESS society,
you won't get the AESS Journal, but you may become a member (of your
choice) of any society that you wish. In my analog, amsat-bb will and
should be open for general users not involved in satops, satengg,
mission planning, but only using it as a hobby. Separately, if there
was an amsat-engineering or some other forum should in my opinion only
be open to those that have agreed to sign a volunteering agreement
with AMSAT agreeing to comply with a written policy, that is inclusive
of the ITAR regs for "U.S. Persons".

+ The key issue of course is that in the U.S.A, we must be in
compliance with all laws, and those "Federal" laws trump individual
association/non-profit laws that one may think of.

That said, I would like to submit to the amsat-bod through amsat-bb
(Hey, I don't have access, I am a newbie!)

Have you looked at:
http://www.research.ucla.edu/researchpol/memos/Memo_Ofac.htm and
considered the implications of adopting a restatement of our bye-laws
to reflect our current role as a fundamental research institution in
amateur space systems and potentially amateur rocketry as well ?

I urge all to review THIRD (A, B, F, G) once again from

But more importantly, Bob, or any other competent amsat member, we
must spend the time to read ourselves thoroughly
http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2002/aprqtr/22cfr121.1.htm that
might offer the chance to request a WAIVER. The reason for this would
be based upon the following question:

Why should AMSAT Satellites with clearly defined specifications be
considered as SME (Significant Military Equipment) given that they
follow ARRL/IARU/ITU spec for frequency, and their systems are
composed of all non-military sourced components ? If there is an
opportunity to expand on this in a formal working group for AMSAT,
sign me up please !

I am not minimizing the effect of ITAR regs on foreign co-operation,
those will obviously have to be developed under a restricted TAA (Tech
Asst. Agreement) but perhaps this would be good in a way as it would
force AMSAT-NA to focus on increasing membership of domestic U.S.
persons and build satellites that are designed using local talent
(implying educating U.S. youth using mature workforce). Also, ITAR now
implies unrestricted publication of data/articles for ITAR covered
subjects are also restricted, even for a TAA:

I quote: {please note, I am only copying, but do not know if this is
the current and valid version from congress ?}

Category XV--Spacecraft Systems and Associated Equipment

    * (a) Spacecraft, including communications satellites, remote
sensing satellites, scientific satellites, research satellites,
navigation satellites, experimental and multi-mission satellites.

    * Note to paragraph (a):
    Commercial communications satellites, scientific satellites,
research satellites and experimental satellites are designated as SME
only when the equipment is intended for use by the armed forces of any
foreign country.

    (b) Ground control stations for telemetry, tracking and control of
spacecraft or satellites, or employing any of the cryptographic items
controlled under category XIII of this subchapter.
    (c) Global Positioning System (GPS) receiving equipment specifically
designed, modified or configured for military use; or GPS receiving
equipment with any of the following characteristics:
    (1) Designed for encryption or decryption (e.g., Y-Code) of GPS
precise positioning service (PPS) signals;
    (2) Designed for producing navigation results above 60,000 feet
altitude and at 1,000 knots velocity or greater;
    (3) Specifically designed or modified for use with a null steering
antenna or including a null steering antenna designed to reduce or avoid
jamming signals;
    (4) Designed or modified for use with unmanned air vehicle systems
capable of delivering at least a 500 kg payload to a range of at least
300 km.
    Note: GPS receivers designed or modified for use with military
unmanned air vehicle systems with less capability are considered to be
specifically designed, modified or configured for military use and
therefore covered under this paragraph (d)(4).)
    Any GPS equipment not meeting this definition is subject to the
jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce (DOC). Manufacturers or
exporters of equipment under DOC jurisdiction are advised that the U.S.
Government does not assure the availability of the GPS P-Code for civil
navigation. It is the policy of the Department of Defense (DOD) that GPS
receivers using P-Code without clarification as to whether or not those
receivers were designed or modified to use Y-Code will be presumed to be
Y-Code capable and covered under this paragraph. The DOD policy further
requires that a notice be attached to all P-Code receivers presented for
export. The notice must state the following: ``ADVISORY NOTICE: This
receiver uses the GPS P-Code signal, which by U.S. policy, may be
switched off without notice.''
    (d) Radiation-hardened microelectronic circuits that meet or exceed
all five of the following characteristics:
    (1) A total dose of 5x105 Rads (SI);
    (2) A dose rate upset of 5x108 Rads (SI)/Sec;
    (3) A neutron dose of 1x1014 N/cm2;
    (4) A single event upset of 1x10-7 or less error/bit/day;
    (5) Single event latch-up free and having a dose rate latch-up of
5x108 Rads(SI)/sec or greater.

[[Page 433]]

    (e) All specifically designed or modified systems, components,
parts, accessories, attachments, and associated equipment for the
articles in this category, including the articles identified in
Sec. 1516 of Public Law 105-261: satellite fuel, ground support
equipment, test equipment, payload adapter or interface hardware,
replacement parts, and non-embedded solid propellant orbit transfer
engines (see also categories IV and V).
    (f) Technical data (as defined in Sec. 120.10 of this subchapter)
and defense services (as defined in Sec. 120.9 of this subchapter)
directly related to the articles enumerated in paragraphs (a) through
(e) of this category, as well as detailed design, development,
manufacturing or production data for all spacecraft and specifically
designed or modified components for all spacecraft systems. This
paragraph includes all technical data, without exception, for all launch
support activities (e.g., technical data provided to the launch provider
on form, fit, function, mass, electrical, mechanical, dynamic,
environmental, telemetry, safety, facility, launch pad access, and
launch parameters, as well as interfaces for mating and parameters for
launch.) (See Sec. 124.1 for the requirements for technical assistance
agreements before defense services may be furnished even when all the
information relied upon by the U.S. person in performing the defense
service is in the public domain or is otherwise exempt from the
licensing requirements of this subchapter.) Technical data directly
related to the manufacture or production of any article enumerated
elsewhere in this category that is designated as Significant Military
Equipment (SME) shall itself be designated SME. Further, technical data
directly related to the manufacture or production of all spacecraft,
notwithstanding the nature of the intended end use (e.g., even where the
hardware is not SME), is designated SME.

    Note to paragraph  (f): The special export controls contained in
Sec. 124.15 of this subchapter are always required before a U.S. person
may participate in a launch failure investigation or analysis and before
the export of any article or defense service in this category for launch
in, or by nationals of, a country that is not a member of the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization or a major non-NATO ally of the United
States. Such special export controls also may be imposed with respect to
any destination as deemed appropriate in furtherance of the security and
foreign policy of the United States.

On Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 9:31 AM, Bob McGwier <rwmcgwier at gmail.com> wro
> Bruce Robertson wrote:ha
>> On Sun, Oct 18, 2009 at 8:31 PM,  <k0vty at juno.com> wrote:
>>> Hi Bob (N4HY)
>>> Thanks for taking the time to ponder for the BB and me some of the twists
>>> and turns
>>> of ITAR issues.
>>> I hope the BB apprecaites your time and effort.
>>> Here are a few more questions?
>> I have a further question, if I may, and Bob needn't feel obliged to answer it.
>>  Given that AMSAT-NA is by definition a collaboration between amateurs
>> on both sides of the US/Canada border, do we have a clear idea where
>> ITAR stands with respect to Canadian collaborators? I know that in
>> 1999 the previous exemption was revoked, but that in 2001 there were
>> some changes again.
>> 73, Bruce
> Working with Candians and discussing satellites is a deemed export and
> must be treated as a munition transfer even between Canadians and
> Americans.  We need a technical assistance agreement with our Canadian
> brethren in amateur satellite service work.  The tough part for this is
> that we really need to work out the technical assistance agreement with
> an umbrella organization for our Canadian colleagues to be legal or be
> granted a specific exemption or work out the agreements with
> individuals.  Since Canadians are members of AMSAT-NA what organization
> could easily serve this role?  What individual would do this on their
> own without an umbrella group over them?  You have to agree to go to a
> federal prison or pay a ridiculous fine if you violate this as an
> individual.  Who would expose themselves to this?
> If I sound overly negative about ITAR that is simple.  I am truly
> negative about its application to amateur radio satellites with an open
> door and publication policy on what we are doing in a not-for-profit
> mode as a 501c3 educational organization.  If I were to work on a DOD
> satellite, I would expect to keep my mouth shut or go to prison.  I have
> no trouble at all distinguishing the difference.  ITAR and the amateur
> radio and amateur satellite services are confounded in paranoia built in
> a time when the Soviet Union existed and thank goodness those days are
> over.  But what has resulted is a new set of boogie men to take their
> place and it being even harder to see how amateur radio satellites
> contribute to their evil insidious plots against us!
> I am unconvinced that even trying to stop commercial companies from
> discussing the technology used in their satellites for non-defense
> purposes serves a serious security need for the U.S. since I believe all
> of the serious potential adversaries on our radar have developed
> rockets, spacecraft, weaponized warheads on the rockets, and more and
> ITAR did NOTHING to prevent it except for a delaying action that allowed
> the potential adversaries to build their own independent means but for
> these purposes, getting the shackles off the ankles of amateur radio,  I
> don't care about this argument.  My primary argument is that it makes
> absolutely no sense to stop AMSAT-NA, AMSAT-UK,  and AMSAT-DL and
> AMSAT-ZL and AMSAT-VK ..... from talking things over to make rational
> decisions.
> More than one of these entities just mentioned is trapped in a dilemma
> for their programs posed by ITAR because we cannot help them without an
> onerous agreement they are unwilling to sign up to.
> Bob
> N4HY
> --
> (Co)Author: DttSP, Quiktrak, PowerSDR, GnuRadio
> Member: ARRL, AMSAT, AMSAT-DL, TAPR, Packrats,
> "You don't need to see the whole staircase, just
>  take the first step.", MLK.
> Twitter:rwmcgwier
> Active: Facebook,Myspace,LinkedIn
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