Wednesday, August 21, 2013

AMSAT Seeks Clarification on Status of Amateur Satellites

International cooperation between AMSAT-NA and other amateur satellite groups around the world has been severely limited in recent years because the U.S. government has considered amateur satellites to be "munitions" and has made it illegal to share technology with foreign countries. Recent proposed changes in the U.S. Munitions List suggest that amateur satellites may be transferred to the Commerce Department's less-restrictive "Commerce Control List," but the specifics have not been clear.

The AMSAT News Service reports that AMSAT has filed comments in that proceeding, seeking clarification of the proposed change as it relates to amateur satellites. It has also filed separate comments with the Commerce Department seeking to have amateur satellites treated differently from commercial satellites. For more on this story, see the "VHF-Plus" column in the October issue of CQ.