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

Bill Ress bill at hsmicrowave.com
Sun Oct 25 12:14:38 PDT 2009

Hi John,

The completed satellite is usually exempt. This is how AO-51, as a 
completed satellite, went to Russia and was launched on a Dnepr. AMSAT 
has in the past and will in the future, apply for an export license for 
a satellite. It's when you try to export satellite components or 
technology, like the IHU, the SDX for the P3E, or engage in dialog 
regarding a satellites thermal performance the the AMSAT-DL folks to 
assist them, that you run afoul of ITAR.

There's a big different between sharing technology and components than 
it is to export a complete satellite for launch. Often the State Dept. 
will require that a representative(s) of the satellite builders (and 
sometimes the State Dept. itself) accompany the satellite at all times, 
insuring that no one can get a closer look than just the outside, right 
through the launch.

Yes, a bit confusing and frustrating, but workable.

Regards...Bill - N6GHz

John P. Toscano wrote:
> 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.
> Bob:
> 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"
> John
> W0JT
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