[eagle] Re: ITAR BS

Chuck Green greencl at mindspring.com
Tue Sep 9 15:52:45 PDT 2008

Hi Bill,

I have been quiet so far on this thread.  I'm the one that took AO-51 to 
the launch sight (in Kazakhstan via Moscow).  This was not done behind 
the backs of the ITAR regulators.  It was done after complying with 
their requirements, in detail.  All this was arranged by SpaceQuest 
(Dino Lorenzini).  We hid nothing and followed all the rules and special 
procedures arranged for us.  SpaceQuest had been through this process 
before with satellites of their own.  It is not a simple process and 
*only* covers the transport of the satellite out of the country through 
to the launch.  It involves much more than just following the already 
documented regulations but also working with the regulators to develop a 
procedure they like.

Working with foreign nationals during development is a totally different 
issue even though it is covered by the same ITAR regulations.  AO-51 was 
totally developed in the US by US citizens.  As I understand it, it is 
the process specified by the regulators that has made international 
collaboration on future projects impossible (unacceptable to the foreign 

Even US citizens doing development in the US have a problem if they want 
to do it in an "open" way.  In every meeting I have attended regarding 
the development of EAGLE it has been stated and restated that it would 
be done totally "open" meaning all schematics, drawings, and software 
source code would be published.  Most people expressed their very strong 
feeling that they would not be interested in participating in the 
project if this were not the case.  It would seem that this in itself 
might be a violation of ITAR regulations.  I remember reading that even 
NASA got into hot water after posting some of their source code on the 
internet.  They took it down and I don't think anyone went to jail or 
was fined for it, but they could have been.

What would it take for me to do any more regarding any AMSAT satellite 
project?  I would want to have a copy of a statement signed by a high 
level ITAR regulator exempting AMSAT from these regulations.  Everyone 
seems to have an opinion regarding all of this.  But opinions won't keep 
me out of jail and I have no intention of doing anything that might 
expose myself to this possibility.


Bill Ress wrote:
> Bob, et al.
> I have been looking into ITAR issues, as you know, and one of the things 
> I found (through asking questions - but admittedly not the one who had 
> the problem) was that the individual who it seems was actually "guilty" 
> of violating ITAR (while consulting with a foreign satellite maker - not 
> AMSAT related) started to spread fear throughout our ranks. Was this 
> appropriate on his part? Was it sour grapes? Should he have known better?
> Let's put this ITAR stuff on hold for bit. I have volunteered to off 
> load from Rick his efforts to resolve ITAR. Rick has briefed me on the 
> recent AMSAT activities, offered to assist my efforts, and has agreed on 
> a plan which will start by getting a reading from State, using their 
> "commodity jurisdiction determination" procedure on the IHU-3, which is 
> the long pole in the tent right now. I'm certain that effort will flush 
> out a lot of information from State and hopefully start some meaningful 
> dialog. We won't know until we try.
> Then I'll be preparing series of articles about ITAR and its 
> implications or lack thereof, using all the resources I can gather to 
> provide guidance, counsel and editing, for what could become the basis 
> for our formal ITAR guideline.
> But I can tell you this fact right now. ITAR _DOES NOT_ apply to an 
> AMSAT satellite launched by a USA company. Additionally, ITAR DOES NOT 
> apply to material, hardware or software, we receive from outside the USA 
> for inclusion into our USA company launched satellite. The big key here 
> is USA company launch. Hence the attractiveness of the Intelsat 
> rideshare. ITAR doesn't apply.
> So until AMSAT plans for a launch by a foreign government - forget ITAR. 
> And if we must consider a foreign country launch in the future, I'm 
> hoping we'll have a better understanding of our ITAR do's and don'ts.
> Just remember - 4 years ago we launched AO-51 from Russia and I didn't 
> see any of the AMSAT team get hauled off to jail. With all its publicity 
> you'd have thought it would have caught the eye of someone at State if 
> they really felt we were "bad guys." I actually take that as a tacit 
> approval by them (by using the concept of precedents - viewing our over 
> thirty year satellite building and launching history) that we're the 
> "good guys" but they don't want to go to Congress to have us formally 
> excluded from a their confusing ITAR document...............But then I'm 
> a glass half full guy!!
> So Matt, yes - I see ITAR as just _one_ reason, of which there are 
> several, for our lack of progress and concerns by some key volunteers.
> Regards...Bill - N6GHz
> Bob McGwier wrote:
>> I think this misses the point of these discussions.  Some of our most
>> valuable, long term, productive volunteers, people who have been producing
>> real results for a long time,  have been sitting on the sideline because of
>> the fear of ITAR and its implications.  Shortly after our first major
>> meeting where ACP was really introduced,  they almost completely pulled back
>> from us.  They have a specific example they can point to, in a person we all
>> know who was caught up in it, pursued by the authorities, and ate a real
>> cost that pushed them to the edge financially. 
>> It just isn't worth taking the risk to them and thus it is very costly to
>> us.
>> I don't think anyone blames ITAR for all that happened here since June.
>> Bob
>> ARRL SDR Working Group Chair
>> Member: ARRL, AMSAT, AMSAT-DL, TAPR, Packrats,
>> "Trample the slow ....  Hurdle the dead"
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: eagle-bounces at amsat.org [mailto:eagle-bounces at amsat.org] On Behalf Of
>> Matt Ettus
>> Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 3:59 PM
>> To: 'EAGLE'
>> Subject: [eagle] ITAR BS
>> Saying that the reason there is no progress on Eagle is because of ITAR 
>> is like saying that the reason my dog hasn't read "The Complete Works of 
>> William Shakespeare" is because he can't reach it on the top bookshelf.
>> The real reasons why there is no progress:
>>     Nobody knows what "Eagle" is anymore
>>     Everyone who was actually doing any work was summarily "fired".  
>> Multiple times in some cases.
>> Matt
>> _______________________________________________
>> Via the Eagle mailing list courtesy of AMSAT-NA
>> Eagle at amsat.org
>> http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/eagle
>> _______________________________________________
>> Via the Eagle mailing list courtesy of AMSAT-NA
>> Eagle at amsat.org
>> http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/eagle
> _______________________________________________
> Via the Eagle mailing list courtesy of AMSAT-NA
> Eagle at amsat.org
> http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/eagle

More information about the Eagle mailing list