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Draft export control lists released

Last week, a Commerce Department official said that the administration’s long-awaited revisions to Category XV of the US Munitions List, which covers satellites and related components, would be published in draft form soon for public review. Those lists appeared as planned: Friday’s Federal Register includes both the draft revised Category XV list as well as a separate list of items that will now be on the Commerce Control List. The draft Category XV list follows the proposed the proposal for a revised Category XV in last year’s “Section 1248″ report.

The publication of the drafts in the Federal Register initiated a 45-day public comment period. At last week’s meeting of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) in Washington, Mike Gold, chairman of COMSTAC and a leading advocate of export control reform, warned industry not to sit back and take for granted that these draft rules will be enacted. “If companies and organizations fail to submit positive comments” about the draft rules, he said, “don’t come back here and complain when export control falls apart or doesn’t go through. We’re not done here, folks. We need to submit positive stuff in the next 45 days.” Gold said that there are still critics of export control reform in Congress. “If they get few comments, or just negative comments, we could be back to square one.”

11 comments to Draft export control lists released

  • Fred Willett

    “Put in a place where it’s easy to see,
    the cryptic acknowledgement TTT.
    Whenever you see how slowly you climb,
    It’s well to remember that Things Take Time.”
    Piet Hein.
    Even so this is progress.

  • Hiram

    To the extent that our future in human spaceflight is going to be contingent on international participation, these revisions define policy that is profoundly important. The public comments accepted on this revised legislation really underscore the complexity of it. It is very encouraging to see that Mike Gold and Steve Isakowitz have been added to COMSTAC, as they bring a lot of commercial and policy expertise to the table.

    It would be interesting to see some detailed analysis on the content of these revisions, with reference to potential impacts. Each paragraph couples strongly, in very different ways, to future international collaboration.

    • amightywind

      To the extent that our future in human spaceflight is going to be contingent on international participation, these revisions define policy that is profoundly important.

      International participation has hobbled the US space program ever since the shuttle first started visiting Mir. Like most Americans, I’d rather see this country go its own way in space and jettison the rag tag.

      Export controls are simply about international competitiveness. I support relaxing them to a point. But Russia and China are notorious for stealing technology, and any new policy must not help them in their work.

      • Hiram

        “I’d rather see this country go its own way in space and jettison the rag tag.”

        Heh. Wouldn’t we all like to do it ourselves? Not gonna happen. To what “rag tag” were you referring? Oh, you mean the ones that launch our astronauts? The ones that are world leaders in on-orbit telerobotics? The ones that have pioneered a new generation in suit technology? Yes, let’s get rid of the “rag tag” so we can actually DO something, like building an HLV that we can afford to launch concrete with.

        • common sense

          There you go again with this mission of yours with no proper requirements. Not that they need to be set in stone. Nonetheless I find it ironical considering your proposed mission.

          Now you should pay attention to this remark “Export controls are simply about international competitiveness” and that alone should tell you that the “ragtag” he is referring to is his brain. Which I agree with. We should jettison the ragtag.

          • Hiram

            Oh, that’s a good one. A mission concept for SLS set in stone. I can picture the mixers on the gantry right now. I’ll bet NASA could get a good deal at Harbor Freight. Space qualification may be tricky, but we’re good at that. The proper requirement for this mission is that it makes use of a rocket that can put 50 mT BEOm and creates a rock in a controlled orbit for humans to conquer. It’s just that simple.

            Oh my goodness. If we mined water at the lunar poles, we could save a bundle, by just launching the cement and aggregates! It all fits, I tell ya!

            In the context of this thread, of course the major advantage of such a payload is that ITAR need not be involved.

            • common sense

              Let’s hope there won’t be someone taking the set in stone requirements and you know, only take 10 of those and you know eventually write a book about it and then have big building erected in the name of SLS and you know… Scary.

              On the other hand I do like that you are making some efforts in simplifying the mission since it will reduce costs as well.

              I would like to offer a slight variant. Since you don’t seem to like my idea of retrieving the Moon or Mars. And in order to give some credibility to your own idea. Here goes. Let’s find a nice meteorite and loft it with SLS somewhere in LEO. Then we can send astronauts to visit a real life rock that we know for sure actually already hit the Earth. Which would even lend some credibility to the idea of studying impactors. See what I mean?

              Ah. Now. About the water. I would strongly, very strongly recommend we do not get any astronaut to walk on lunar water. Because you know, set in stone requirements and astronauts walking on water… It’d be a total mess.

              And then ITAR would be totally moot. Does it address transfer of technology to off-this-Earth nations??? Dunno. Seems complicated.

              Just sayin’

              • Hiram

                Well, we need to help justify SLS by giving it something affordable to launch. Since, after all, there is no budget for a technologically sophisticated SLS payload outside of Orion (and maybe not even that!) in the forseeable future. Look, I’m just doing my civic duty in coming up with an affordable payload concept that can meet national needs for an otherwise useless launcher. The strategy of launching a meteorite is a good one in that it’s a verifiable space rock. We’d have to clean it well, though, to remove any residue from the thousands of people that have already climbed on it. You can’t sully the footprint of an astronaut with the grime from the hand of some kid.

                But there is a problem. We’d best to get the rock from Alabama. Congressional dollars must flow in the right direction, you see. Are there any 100 ton meteorites in Alabama? Hmmm. The Sylacauga meteorite is famous because it actually hit someone (which sends the right message, policy-wise) in Alabama but it’s just a few pounds, and an astronaut will have trouble standing on it or erecting a flag on it.

                Now the 60 ton Hoba meteorite might do it, if we can get Shelby to bless it. But can you imagine the problems we’re going to have with export control in working with Namibia on that piece of space hardware?

              • common sense

                Darn! You just want to turn things that are easy into things that are complicated.

                What tons are you talking about now? You’ not gonna give us some metric issues now are you?

                Now. Namibia appears “friendly”. I could not find anything bad on the Dept. of State site nor on the CIA site. See here for example http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5472.htm I am sure we can work an export control license. On the other hand do we plan to import? Or do we plan to export the SLS to Namibia? I surmise they would pay us with rocks if we were to export an SLS. And SLS would be the first stepping stone (no pun intended of course) in the Namibian space program.

                Ah Ah. So here is the trick. Since they don’t have a launch pad in Namibia we offer them to use ours at KSC via an international SAA. And therefore we do not export anything.

                Remains the issue of bringing the rock all the way to KSC. Can we send the Navy? With our colors flying high on an aircraft carrier, a display of benevolent force. We make it an event at the UN. We ask coverage by the media – Fox News comes to mind.

                What an astonishing thing to do. Mesmerizing. The first time the Earth sends something that came from space back to space.

        • Dark Blue Nine

          “To what “rag tag” were you referring?”

          The rag tag space program that saved NASA’s arse during the Shuttle stand down after Columbia.

          • James

            I thought by ‘rag tag’, he meant Congress! Hey, I”m for that! In fact, we can launch all congress-critters on the SLS! Give em the ride they so dearly want!

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