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

John P. Toscano tosca005 at tc.umn.edu
Sun Oct 25 11:05:14 PDT 2009

Bob McGwier wrote:
> ANY aspect dealing with a satellite, software, hardware, ground stations 
> (hardware, software, protocols, etc.), ideas, random ejaculations from a 
> diseased mind or whatever that deals with spacecraft or ground stations 
> are DEEMED EXPORTS when they depart a U.S. citizen and are delivered to 
> a non-U.S. citizen.  It is a nearly impossible task to abide by and one 
> that really makes me want to throw my hands up in despair and walk away.
> There are exceptions for classrooms and courses taught in U.S. 
> university's.  A person, even a non-U.S. citizen, who can pay for taking 
> a course, may go and involve themselves in course work, even if it is 
> dealing with the design, construction, and control of spacecraft during 
> the course work.  Some of this applies to your earlier questions but for 
> US service academies,  there are very few non-U.S. citizens in them.


I would not dream of second-guessing you for a moment, since you are 
fully engaged in this stuff and I am simply an interested observer.

However, why doesn't the following quotation directly from the ITAR 
regulations provide the exemption we need? The quotation comes from the 
section that defines what are the items that are covered by ITAR:

ITAR Part 121 - The United States Munitions List

-----------------------< begin quote >-------------------------------

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.

-----------------------< end quote >---------------------------------

Note that SME refers to "Significant Military Equipment"

Paragraph (a) seems to cover everything and anything having to do with 
satellites, but the asterisk and "NOTE" attached to it seems to say that 
an Amateur radio satellite for use by Amateurs instead of foreign armed 
forces should be exempted, doesn't it?

Granted, I realize that we have already lost one argument with ITAR 
about our past cooperation with AMSAT-DL, but is there some compelling 
reason why the lawyers didn't point out this exception?

Just wondering...
If I had to guess the answer myself, after looking at the horribly 
convoluted language of the small piece of the ITAR regulations that I 
have looked at, there is probably another paragraph elsewhere that 
effectively says, "we were just kidding when we said that it had to be 
used by foreign armed forces, we really mean it to cover everything"


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