[eagle] Re: 2008 Symposium deadline

Lyle Johnson kk7p at wavecable.com
Sat Sep 6 15:33:58 PDT 2008

> One could hope that the new administration coming in January might fix ITAR.
> At least one candidate has mentioned it in his space policy. (
> http://www.fladems.com/page/-/Obama_Space.pdf  page 6).  The other candidate
> may also be willing to listen to reason. 

One hopes both will. I suspect this is not very high on any candidate's 
priority list, and once the election is over will fall down to the 
bottom.  We have 5,000 or fewer members.  Not many votes...

> I suppose you could project blank slides just to make a point, sort of like
> what the student newspaper in college did when facing censorship issues.

My non-attendance is my way of making the point.

> Or
> maybe Amsat could schedule a "US only" session with proof of citizenship
> required for admittance to also drive the point home. 

That's when I resign my life membership!

> We have to present some evidence of progress on these projects. If that means
> speaking in bland generalities, or shooing non-citizens from the room, we have
> to do something. Explaining how ITAR has hurt Amsat projects would itself be a
> valid topic for a presentation.

I agree.  Perhaps one of the officers or others who were in the various 
meetings could make such a presentation.

> Since screwdrivers and wrenches can be used to assemble satellites, I wonder
> if my local hardware store has the proper export controls in place to ensure
> national security?


Only if they pack instructions showing how to make a controlled device 
using that tool.


All of my life I have been a "glass half full" person with respect to 
AMSAT and what we can do in space as Amateurs.  From July 28, 1983 when 
we started on UoSAT-B/OSCAR-11 we cooperatively designed built and 
delivered to the launch pad a satellite in 5 months, which waited 3 
months for a launch and operated for over two decades, proving a battery 
technology crucial for our later spacecraft.  US, Canada and UK working 

The last few years with ITAR and Eagle have made me a "glass half empty" 
person in this context.  Years of work, and we keep going back to the 
very basics.  Heck, we don't even know the size or shape of what Eagle 
will be, or what its probable payloads might be.  We keep re-starting 
and never finishing.  IHU-3 was really a device intended for P3E and P5A 
that could also be used for Eagle, at least in the format that Eagle was 
originally going to have been, and what its next two or three 
definitions suggested it might be.

Frankly, I have *no* idea what Eagle even is anymore, or what state it 
is in.  Can anyone tell me its size, shape, or name its three primary 
payloads?  Is it CC-Rider?  SDX?  Analog transponders?  Cube, hexagon, 
or tri-star? Or...  Or even what its probably uplink or downlink bands 
migh tbe, much less its frequencies?

I have to put my limited time into efforts that I think will bear fruit. 
   After several years of hard work for Eagle with essentially no 
results to show, I have to say, Enough!" and move on.

If the climate changes and it is possible to work on this sort of 
project cooperatively with non-US nationals, and if AMSAT is still 
viable by that time, I'll undoubtedly be asking to be allowed to 
participate, if only to mentor and share what I've learned before I go 
the way we all eventually go.

Sorry to be so negative.  But I couldn't present anything about this 
project.  I don't believe it exists in any viable form.  I don't know 
who is actually working on it. I have not seen any hardware apart from a 
tremendous effort by Stephen and Bdale (and Chuck and a few others) to 
make CAN controllers (many flight-ready examples of which exist, and are 
gathering dust), and a complete IHU3 waiting, as always, on software to 
test it to see if it all work (there is only *one* piece of the hardware 
that has not been verified -- and this status has not changed at all in 
well over two years. Or has it been three?  I've lost count).  But why 
write the software if there is no satellite that will use the IHU3? And 
why build the satellite if we can't launch it?  Look at P3E.

ITAR destroyed the U.S. Amateur space program, with the possible 
exception of Cubesats and perhaps some Microsats.  It certainly 
destroyed large projects (P3E, Eagle, ...).

AO-40 destroyed our confidence.

And running in circles (see Eagle, above) has depleted most of our 
volunteers and good will.

Perhaps a Phoenix will arise.

Perhaps not.


Lyle KK7P

> Dan
> ------ Original Message ------
> Received: Sat, 06 Sep 2008 12:48:51 PM EDT
> From: Lyle Johnson <kk7p at wavecable.com>
> To: Frank Brickle <brickle at pobox.com>Cc: Daniel Schultz <n8fgv at usa.net>,
> eagle at amsat.org
> Subject: Re: [eagle] Re: 2008 Symposium deadline
>> Hello Frank!
>> I don't mind being controversial :-)
>> My take on all things AMSAT for the past couple of years is:
>> 1) ITAR prevents us from any meaningful exchange of ideas, projects or 
>> design with any non-U.S. citizen.  While there are ways to do this, they 
>> assume very deep pockets and a large full-time staff devoted to 
>> satisfying unreasonable, unrealistic and arbitrary government demands.
>> Feedback from meetings with people who ought to know strongly suggest 
>> that while Amateur satellites are not the intent of the ITAR rules 
>> (duh!), absolutely no one in a position to help us is willing to go on 
>> record with that interpretation.
>> The practical result is that ITAR has killed the IHU3 since it was 
>> dependent on cooperation from a non-NA group.  P3E and whatever Eagle 
>> was to have been were dependent on the IHU3.  The impact is pretty easy 
>> to extrapolate.
>> 2) For the same reasons, ITAR prevents us from making a presentation at 
>> any AMSAT Symposium with any technical content except perhaps the most 
>> general.  If there is technical content, we have to be ready to cite 
>> chapter and verse of the publicly available source of anything we utter 
>> that might be construed as potentially revealing of any level of 
>> technology that might possibly be applied to any spacecraft in orbit or 
>> supporting such a spacecraft on the ground.
>> Unless of course we clear the building of all non-U.S. citizens.
>> Sigh.
>> 73,
>> Lyle KK7P (who now does terrestrial stuff)

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