[eagle] Re: ITAR BS

Chuck Green greencl at mindspring.com
Tue Sep 9 20:18:44 PDT 2008

Hi Bill,
> Chuck - I didn't mean to imply that you and the AO-51 team did any thing 
> under the table.
And I didn't take it that way.  My point was that we have rules for 
taking a satellite out of the country, other rules regarding 
international collaboration, and still other rules for public 
dissemination of design information.  I was pointing out that we 
followed the rules in each case, as far as I know. 
>  Just the opposite. You built a satellite in the US with 
> US folks, got it to Russia for launch and no one went to jail. I also 
> know much of the satellite details were disclosed in public forums 
> (symposium, journal etc.) and yet no one went to jail. You did it then, 
> why can you do it now.
I didn't disclose any technical details.  I can't speak for others.  Did 
anyone cross the line?  Not to my knowledge.  All (I think) I know is 
there be dragons here.  And I, for one, am not going where there are 
> My point is, the same requirements exist today as you faced 4 plus years 
> ago when you successfully launched AO-51. There is no reason why we 
> can't do what SpaceQuest did. If there is, tell me why.
We certainly can do what SpaceQuest did as far as the launch is 
concerned.  But SpaceQuest did not publicly disclose the schematics for 
the various circuits in the satellite.  And the source code that runs in 
the satellite is not publicly  available.  Both of these situations is 
well understood and accepted. 

But those willing to work on EAGLE made it quite clear that this 
situation is *not* acceptable if they are going to be involved. 
> What I will try very hard to counter is this "ITAR hysteria" that 
> threatens to halt all AMSAT technical activities. Yes - hysteria is a 
> harsh word, but instead of trying to be brought down by all the reasons 
> why we can't built satellites, let's muster up our productive juices to 
> find ways that we can build satellites. The alternative is to end AMSAT!
Please do not take anything I said as "ITAR hysteria" but rather, a 
simple realization that I do not have the financial resources to defend 
myself should the ITAR regulators come after me nor do I have sufficient 
years remaining to risk spending some of them in the hooskow.  Hence my 
previously stated requirement for a signed copy of a statement exempting 
AMSAT from the ITAR rules before I'll be back involved. 

This has been going on for several years now and has been stated, AMSAT 
has spent a lot of money trying to find a way through this minefield.  
So far, there does not seem to be a way for us to safely proceed on an 
open-source development effort with, or without foreign nationals being 
involved.  So, given this state of affairs, I have concluded that we 
will not find such a path (ITAR rules interpretation), but that the 
problem will have to be resolved at the source.  But that's just me.  
I'd sure like to be wrong!
> We have a new action plan to get re-started on ITAR and that involves 
> dialog with attorney's and eventually State and you know that won't 
> happen next week. In the mean time are you proposing we sit on our hands?
Well, I'll not be sitting on my hands.  But they won't be working on the 
next satellite developed by AMSAT either until they have the 
aforementioned signed document in their possession.
> We really need to get 
> this resolved.
I fully agree that this *must* be resolved and that it should be the top 
priority of AMSAT management.  I believe the future of AMSAT may very 
well hinge on this one thing.  I very much appreciate your willingness 
to dive into this mess. 


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