Satellite export control final rule due out by early summer

Speakers at a panel on export control reform at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on Tuesday said that the part of the US Munitions List (USML) that deals with satellites and related items, Category XV, is the next one to be finalized. Kevin Wolf, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, said that satellites and another category, covering military electronics, are starting the process of Congressional notification “as soon as we can.” He declined to give a specific timeline for completing that effort and publishing the final rule, beyond that it should be done by “spring and early summer.”

“Satellites will be first, ahead of electronics,” added Brian Nilsson, Director of Non-Proliferation and Export Controls at the National Security Council.

The administration published a draft of the revised Category XV in late May. While generally well received by industry, given that it moved most commercial satellites and their components off the USML and thus no longer under ITAR, one area of concern was the decision to keep “man-rated sub-orbital, orbital, lunar, interplanetary or habitat” spacecraft on the USML. Nearly half of the comments submitted during the public comment period after the release of the draft Category XV list addressed this issue, with the vast majority calling for taking such spacecraft off the list. The panelists at the CSIS event did not directly address this specific issue.

6 comments to Satellite export control final rule due out by early summer

  • Malmesbury

    SNC’s ambitions for Dream Chaser may make this very relevant – quite quickly at that. There is a believable story floating about that the flight SNC & Boeing are paying for is a demo for the benefit of ESA.

    Despite the Hermes debacle there is a strong (minority) group within ESA that wants their own manned launch capability. The problem they are having is that Dream Chaser seems too good to be true – Hermes without the zillion euro price tag. Hence the demo – which will become part of the internal ESA pitch.

    If SNC can offer a fixed price on a working vehicle they have a very good chance of making a sale.

  • Malmesbury, I hope that you are correct on all counts! If we won’t fund three vehicles, let the Europeans fund one of them. (That said, I’m a little dubious that Europe will be willing or able to set aside national asperations to build the vehicle themselves enough to buy from the Americans.)

    — Donald

  • Malmesbury

    They are facing serious problems with cost – if SpaceX carries on they will eat ESAs lunch.

    Buying Dream Chaser would get them an insight into the new small and quick development concepts – the price could be the cost of a single satellite!

    At that level of spending the national aspirations thing is less strong – that happens at the multiple billions level.

    • common sense

      I believe there will be enormous competition with Soyuz. Europe has a historical connection first with the Soviet Union and then Russia.


      Upgrades for manned missions

      Upgrade for manned missions is also possible, however it would require taking the launch pad out of service for a certain period of time. (218) During the meeting of the International Space Station partners on March 2, 2006, the head of the European Space Agency, ESA, denied the existence of any plans to launch manned missions on the Soyuz-ST from Kourou, however he added “never say never.”


      As for Hermes I would be surprised there are any if at all people from that program still working. Even then X-38 would be another debacle in that case.


      • Malmesbury

        All true.

        The interest from ESA doesn’t come from ex-Hermes project people – it comes from those who want a manned system.

        Soyuz is an obvious option, but it comes with extra political entanglements. Yes, I know, they are entangled in that to a certain extent – unmanned vs manned spaceflight though…..

        Dream Chaser might well be cheaper.

        • common sense

          Yes I am (was actually) aware of people within ESA who are/were supporting manned spaceflight but unlike at NASA they are a minority. Europe has never seen HSF as a priority of any kind, except for some political purposes – USSR/Russia.

          Soyuz has the historical advantage and ties between Russia and Europe (the important players in Europe anyway) are very strong. Europe does not have the same history as the US with Russia, especially in terms of HSF.

          Overal, DreamChaser would have to show that it is a lot cheaper than Soyuz, not only as a vehicle but in terms of operating cost, launchpad, etc. And that is not clear considering the progress made by Soyuz in Guyana for example. And politically it would be a very strong blow in the face of Russia. I doubt Europe is ready for any of that.

          On the other hand, occasionally buying flights/seats? Maybe just like with Shuttle. But that is all, I think. Not to mention they may be spending their cash on the Orion SM. Not sure that it will play well for HSF in Europe…

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