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From: "Jeff Greason" <>
Subject: Re: ITAR
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 16:51:52 GMT

Geoffrey A. Landis <> wrote in message
> Restriction puts satellite research in a holding pattern
> Stanford University
> <>
> I'm puzzled by the fact that, as far as I can see, nobody here is
> particularly paying attention to the fact that ITAR is rapidly destroying
> the ability to do anything commercial or scientific in space.

We're certainly paying attention, we just aren't talking about
it here.  In my opinion, if this isn't fixed in a year or two, within
five years there won't be a substantial U.S. supply of payloads.

This is obviously a disaster for national security (which in some
theoretical sense is the concern of the State department, but in a
practical sense they couldn't care less about).  What it means
commercially is less clear.  If the U.S. continues it's boneheaded
policy of making it difficult to work overseas, then commercial
rocket activity will move overseas as well.  I sincerely hope this
doesn't happen, and I'm certainly taking every opportunity to
point out just how incredibly self-destructive the policy at
State is, but even with some pretty heavy tonnage arguing
that this needs fixing, it isn't happening.  The political payoff for
manufacturing an issue to bash the Democrats on is simply too
attractive an election-year ploy for the Republican controlled
Congress to reconsider their decision.

There is (finally) a bill in Congress to move satellite export
licensing back to Commerce where it belongs, HR 4417,
the "Satellite Exports With Security Act of 2000", but
analysts believe it's far too late to pass this year.  Feel free
to explain to your congresscritter in words of one syllable
why it would be a good idea to pass it -- while it probably
won't result in passage this year, it might lay the groundwork
for the 99% of them who will still be there next year.

> are no longer even allowed to bid on projects until they get State
> Department clearance, typically a six month delay.

Yep.  The situation is so delightfully Orwellian that it is
almost impossible to believe.  Currently any communication
with anyone outside the U.S. or any non U.S. citizen working
inside the U.S. is supposed to be approved,
department in advance, with a delay which might be only a
few months if you're a major aerospace corporation dealing
with the U.K, and might be never if it has even the slightest
risk of political fallout, as there is no time limit on how long
State can (and does) sit on things.  Pratt & Whitney's deal
to pay Energomash to TEACH US HOW TO BUILD THEIR
MOST ADVANCED TURBOPUMP was held up so long
that the deal almost collapsed, just because it was percieved
as politically sensitive.  Great job protecting our national
security, guys!

"While dramatic ventures can be      Jeff Greason
 invigorating, they can also make us lose   President & Eng. Mgr.
 sight of the amazing achievements that     XCOR Aerospace
 occur bit by bit"        <>
 -- V. Postrel, The Future and its Enemies  <>

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