[amsat-bb] Hopefully - Some ITAR Clarifications.

Bill Ress bill at hsmicrowave.com
Mon Oct 26 14:24:29 PDT 2009

Hi Samudra,

No, it's not a doom and gloom attitude anymore within AMSAT-NA. We 
understand more today than we did two years ago. It's just that most 
AMSAT-NA satellite builders were unaware of ITAR issues related to 
satellites, and just what can and cannot be done to be compliant. Export 
controlled munitions under ITAR is not something an Amateur Radio 
satellite builder would normally ever consider applies to them. AMSAT-NA 
is working to create a compliance training program for its satellite 
builders (NOT general AMSAT-NA members).

So like any law, in any country, it needs to be first understood, its 
applicability considered and if it applies, then complied with.

But you being a legal permanent resident can be involved with AMSAT-NA 
satellite projects. Foreign nationals cannot unless permitted by a State 
Department approved agreement such as a TAA (Technical Assistance 

But ALL US citizens and foreign permanent residents must be very careful 
about the more sinister part of ITAR called DEEMED EXPORTS. That's where 
you discuss certain ITAR controlled satellite hardware or technology 
issues with a foreign national, with which you do not not have a State 
Department technical exchange agreement, whether this foreign national 
is in this country or you contact them by phone, internet or other forms 
of communication. So while you can work on an AMSAT-NA satellite project 
that has aspects controlled by ITAR, because you are a legal permanent 
resident, you can't email your parents, if they are foreign nationals, 
to discuss those ITAR restricted subjects, whether they are in the US or 
a foreign country. If you do, it is "deemed to be exported" without ITAR 
approval and serious penalties can result.

As stated earlier, ITAR applies equally to universities, NASA, members 
of the military except when specific State Department 
exemptions/agreements are in place.

Regards...Bill - N6GHz

Samudra Haque wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 25, 2009 at 8:38 PM, Bill Ress <bill at hsmicrowave.com> wrote:
> This continues to be a real sore spot with
>> University research programs on things related to satellites or any of
>> the areas subject to ITAR. It's get especially tricky when students,
>> which are foreign nationals, try to become involved.
>> Greg D. wrote:
>>> I wonder if we could hook up with a university somewhere?  Become part
>>> of their graduate program in Astro-something, even get some graduate
>>> students to help with the design and manufacture...  What sort of
>>> restrictions do they have on the definition of a "student"?
>>> Just a thought,
>>> Greg  KO6TH
> Hi, I fall into that category (at present) - and did not have any
> issue with my affiliation with AMU and recent contact with  JPL on
> education matters etc. I beg to differ with the doom and gloom
> everywhere I see at AMSAT, Bill.
> Point: If you are studying at  US School, you are either a resident of
> the USA or a visitor. All F-1, J-1 Visa holders are visitors. And they
> should not be involved in any high technology subjects that are not
> within the purview of a published syllabus by their academic
> institution. Their academic advisors would need to arrange which
> technologies they work with, and what restrictions they will fall
> under.
> * I don't think these students would be able to find time to join an
> AMSAT hobby, but if so, why not, as long as they don't go near a
> satellite tech project and stay limited to user mode.
> Point: If you are a US Lawful Permanent Resident, ITAR applies and you are OK
> Point: If you are a Citizen, ITAR applies and you are OK
> Point: If you are a foreign citizen: please don't apply for any ITAR
> job, and be *very* careful about what you get your hands on while in
> the US borders.
> Note: Universities may be able to obtain permission to incorporate
> students into ITAR research areas, but that is probably because they
> have a good reason to do so (academic campus, partnerships and so on).
> This should have nothing to do with AMSAT ever.
> What is left is that if we are (amsat-na) limited to sourcing talent
> from USA citizens and USA residents, what is the problem here?
> To be ITAR compliant, make a self-certification and have it reviewed
> by the organisation wanting to work with you.
> If it was the case that we could not find talent in the USA (hello...)
> then I would be worried. Besides, I'm surprised that you are not
> seeming to take any account of the numerous foreign students who come
> to the US and obtain legal residency after they graduate, and then
> they stay as an LPR for about 5 years, during which they are ITAR
> compliant and can work with us.
> So, why worry ?
> http://mae.pennnet.com/display_article/366112/32/ARTCL/none/EXECW/1/ITAR-violations-have-produced-high-profile-defense-export-penalties/
> If any AMSAT-xx body wants to help AMSAT-NA that is of course allowed
> and welcome under ITAR, through a TAA; what is wrong with that ? They
> can choose to divulge their technology or not, or give cash or not, as
> long as the payload flies. For AMSAT-xx wanting help from AMSAT-NA,
> then I don't see why they need to be given access to our tech, keeping
> in mind the current ITAR regime, unless it was a for a joint
> development where they have something, we have something. Then again
> the big question is "where is the integration" taking place ? In the
> US or abroad ?
> Still the big question (for me) is can AMSAT encourage more to join
> and volunteer/donate so that US ITAR folks (citizens and LPR) can fly
> more missions !
> Or, better still, is there a job market for ITAR compliant folks who
> want to design spacecraft ?

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