New US rules for satellite exports

The US House of Representatives is backing new regulations which, if passed, would make it easier for satellite operators to launch their satellites free of restrictions currently in place on certain components.

The USA’s ITAR rules treat satellite components as ‘munitions’ (the International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and which mean that non-US satellites cannot use certain America-manufactured components if the satellite is to be launched by a foreign launch company. European manufacturers have had to source these expensive components from non-US suppliers. The ITAR regulations have been in place since 1999.

A statement from the influential Satellite Industry Association (SIA), supporting the proposed legislation changes, said: “The “Safeguarding United States Leadership and Security Act of 2011 (H.R. 3288),” introduced November 1st, would authorize the President to remove satellites and related components from the U.S. Munitions List that are typically subject to restrictions and Congressional oversight.”

The new Bill would again open these non-US markets to European, and possibly Indian and Chinese, launch companies. “SIA and the satellite industry commend the bipartisan co-sponsors of this bill for their leadership in updating an outmoded and overly-restrictive regulation instituted more than a decade ago, which has adversely affected the US space industrial base. We encourage Congress to pass H.R. 3288, both to reinforce our nation’s primacy in space technology and to support American jobs and competitiveness,” said the SIA statement.

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