2013.B.3.3 Escaping Earth’s Orbit but not Earthly Regulations: A Discussion of the Implications of ITAR, FCC Regulations and Title VII on Interplanetary CubeSats and CubeSat Programs


Jeremy Straub (1), Joe Vacek (1)

  1. University of North Dakota, USA




CubeSat, ITAR


As a small satellite moves further from Earth a lot of mission elements change.  More power and/or a larger antenna is needed for communications, fuel requirements increase and mission operations become more complex.  What doesn’t change significantly is the set of laws and regulations that the program and spacecraft must operate under.  This paper reviews, principally, the impact of the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the development, discrimination of information about and operations of small satellite programs.  It reviews the duties imposed by ITAR, the exemptions enjoyed, particularly, by academic institutions under ITAR and the common approaches taken by small spacecraft programs to attempt to comply with applicable regulations.  Also considered is how the work being undertaken for cutting-edge missions (such as small spacecraft interplanetary ones) may differ in terms of treatment under ITAR versus traditional small spacecraft approaches.  The duty of inclusion (when a lawful reason for exclusion doesn’t exist) of those of non-U.S. national origin, imposed by Title VII is also considered and the impact of these two laws on program operations is discussed.  Several common approaches to ITAR compliance are discussed and their efficacy and their prospective impact on innovation is evaluated.  Risk factors are discussed and the common and several prospective compliance solutions are evaluated from a risk management perspective.


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