Tuesday, May 20, 2014

ITAR: International Traffice in Arms Regulations (US) that threatens US Amateurs who engage in Satellite design projects, may be relaxed

Did you know that until now, satellites were weapons, under an important US law, and that Amateurs working with other Amateurs around the world could go to jail or face six figure fines for working collaboratively with other Amateurs on Amateur Satellite projects?

I only heard about this because of an article on www.southgatearc.org which mentions the easing of these restrictions.

The American law International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) classified all satellites, even amateur radio ones, as being in effect, a weapon.   

The fear that this kind of law is built upon is not hard to understand. Remember sputnik? The USSR launched a tiny radio beacon into space, and the space-race was on.   America lost the "first satellite" and "first astronaut in orbit" races, but I'd say they have lots of later victories to salve the wound. It's odd that in 2014, as a law that seems rather touched by a cold-war mentality may now be relaxed, and yet, as we watch the world around us, and the aggressive expansion by the Russian Federation into Crimea is also in the news, and Putin seems committed to reviving the USSR, a bit at a time, I wonder if the cold war may be coming back our way.

It's a strange, strange world we live in.

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