The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) inexplicably applies to amateur radio satellites. It threatens US hams with jail terms or six figure fines if they cooperate with amateurs outside the USA on satellite projects. Cooperation includes talking about or publishing on the web certain information regarding amateur radio satellite systems.
US Department of Defense (DoD) has recommended some US-built satellites and components should be transferred from the US Munitions List (USML) to the Commerce Control List (CCL), allowing greater export flexibility.
Known as the Section 1248 report after the section of the 2010 DoD authorisation bill that commissioned it, the report recommends that authority to classify communications satellites and certain remote sensing satellites, as well as many satellite components, be returned to the president.
The report says:
The review determined that the following items do not contain technologies unique to military applications or critical for maintaining a military edge:
– Communications satellites (COMSATs) that do not contain classified components;
– Remote sensing satellites with performance parameters below (worse than) thresholds identified in Appendix 1 paragraphs (a)(7)(i) – (iv); and
– Systems, subsystems, parts and components associated with these satellites and with performance – parameters below thresholds specified for items remaining on the USML.
The above items no longer meet the definition of a defense article. However, they can provide important military functionality. Although the United States and other space-faring nations have technologies and satellites far more capable than the items identified above, those dual-use technologies can be used by countries with less experience and expertise in space to generate basic, initial military communications, remote sensing assets, and satellite jamming capabilities.
The controls typically applied to dual-use items on the Commerce Control List (CCL) are sufficient to safeguard and monitor the export of the identified items.
Read the Section 1248 Space Export Control Report
A 2009 IARU Region 3 report highlights that ITAR requirements made AMSAT-NA direct its members to cease cooperation with AMSAT-ZL in the development of KiwiSAT http://www.iaru-r3.org/14r3c/docs/046.doc
The 2005 amateur radio P3E IHU project killed by ITAR http://www.amsat-dl.org/p3e/bericht-ihu3-0205-e.pdf
ITAR impact on satellite launches http://www.spacequest.com/Articles/SSC03-II-1%20SpaceQuest.pdf
2011 ITAR submission by the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT)
2009 AMSAT files CJ requests with US State Department
ITAR in ARRL Executive Committee Minutes http://www.uk.amsat.org/6542
Bloomberg: Satellite Export Controls Should Be Eased, U.S Says