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  190761228467: US Space Shuttle Tile

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Author Topic:   190761228467: US Space Shuttle Tile
Spaceguy5
Member

Posts: 421
From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 11-27-2012 05:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
US Space Shuttle Tile, Interesting, I thought they were supposed to be export controlled...

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 30069
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-27-2012 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By practice, the acrylic-encased tiles, such as the NASA-issued displays (like this one) and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation's Space Artifact Series, have been approved by the State Dept. for export.

craigerocksngemz
Member

Posts: 48
From: Pa
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 11-29-2012 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for craigerocksngemz   Click Here to Email craigerocksngemz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What about this tile that recently showed up on eBay? Is it legal?

Item #170950754612.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30069
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-29-2012 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It cannot be exported outside the United States without a waiver from the State Department.

As to its legality, it's a question of the chain of ownership. If NASA released this tile through proper channels, then it could be legal to own (inside the U.S.). Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like the seller has the provenance to establish how it was obtained...

arjuna
unregistered
posted 11-29-2012 06:32 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why is shuttle tile insulation — or at least the actual physical item, not necessarily the process used to produce them — still subject to export restriction when anyone can purchase "authentic shuttle tile insulation" souvenirs in the KSC gift shop.

I understand the need for certain things to remain classified, but this is a 30 or 40 year old technology now sold to kids as trinkets, and so it just strikes me as nonsensical.

Spaceguy5
Member

Posts: 421
From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 11-29-2012 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From my understanding, the KSC gift shop tiles are manufactured slightly differently. The texture of them doesn't quite feel the same way as on real tiles, so I would guess that the gift shop ones are of a different density.

That eBay tile looks to be in very poor condition (I wonder why there's a hole drilled in the front?) but it's obviously unflown (there's no signs of RTV on the back, especially since it still has markings etched in).

Finding a tile — even unused — that doesn't have the corners beat up is nearly impossible.

As for how that tile could legally be in circulation, the only explanations I could think of is it might have signed over to a museum/educational institution (note that tiles recently given to teachers/museums through the recent "Tiles for Teachers" program are not allowed to be given or sold to private individuals. However I'm not sure if that still applies to older tiles given away). If that is the case, it would have included documentation when it was originally shipped.

Either way, that seller cannot export it outside the US. And if you live outside the US, you cannot bid on it — even if you plan on having a third party mail it to you.

dragon001
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posted 12-08-2012 10:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragon001   Click Here to Email dragon001     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I bought an early tile about the time a United Space Alliance employee was arrested for stealing several (8-12) tiles (Feb 2011), so I proactively inquired to the agent about my tile.

NASA's OIG agent requested the serial number, and said mine was beyond his investigation.

He stated that after 25 years, it was difficult for NASA to lay claim to tiles; some were gifted without paperwork, sold at auction, and likely, some were outright stolen, etc. (prior to about 1992).

While he definitely made it sound legally tricky. As policy has been "they remain property of the US Government" --- he also said, "the best NASA can do is to educate private citizen about the ITAR restrictions"

... All this was prefaced with "unless the the person in possession of the tile was the one who removed it"

The big thing I took away with Provenance - the date it left KSC is crucial, after either 1992 or 1994 (I'd need to look at the e-mail), Kennedy tracked all tiles; before this, things didn't work quite as planned.

All times are CT (US)

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