Thursday, December 22, 2011

Congress Considers Easing ITAR Restrictions

(Photo Courtesy Architect of the Capitol)
International cooperation on amateur satellite missions has become nearly impossible since the U.S. government's enactment of its International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR. The rules limit exchanges of technology between countries - even friendly countries - if that technology could possibly have military applications. Violators face stiff fines and possible jail terms. According to the AMSAT News Service, this rule has technically made AMSAT-NA a "munitions supplier," even though its satellite technology has always been strictly for civilian use.

Now, ANS reports that Congress is considering a bill -- H.R. 3288 -- which is aimed at easing ITAR restrictions on commercial satellite development and which, if passed, may once again permit amateur satellite groups around the world to collaborate on multinational ham radio satellite projects. More information, including bill tracking, is available at <>.