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  Saturn V is under export control (ITAR)

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Author Topic:   Saturn V is under export control (ITAR)
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-28-2007 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spacecraft modeler and Aerospace Projects Review editor Scott Lowther has shared in posts to sci.space.history and NASASpaceFlight.com about receiving a call from a "General Dynamics Export Control Compliance guy at NASA/KSC" concerning his website and specifically this page. The page contains "mostly Saturn stuff, witha bit of Shuttle and Dyna Soar." But then he got "this message from a contact who worked at KSC":
However, just before we left KSC, a guy from the NASA Export Control Office (which is run by some contractor, maybe Analex?) came by our office on an "inspection" and told us we had to take down all the Saturn V drawings we had around ... now, these were just old NAA public relation drawings, plus a few commercially-purchased posters showing the Saturn V internals in very rough detail. He said they were all covered by ITAR and therefore had to be locked up! We kept telling him some were purchased at the Visitor Center Gift Shop, but he did not care. He ended up coming around with an armed security cop until we took them down and shredded them.
Is the Saturn V now subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)?

dtemple
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Posts: 605
From: Longview, Texas, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

posted 07-28-2007 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This appears to be someone with a case of out-of-control authority. Original NAA drawings had to be destroyed. I feel safer now because the terrorists will not be able to build a Saturn V and launch it at us! Absolutely ridiculous!

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3023
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-28-2007 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It always has been under Category IV of the U.S. Munitions List. It really boils down to interpretation. There are also other applicable sections depending upon which attributes of the launch system/spacecraft are being considered for export.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-28-2007 10:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
It always has been under Category IV of the U.S. Munitions List...
Yes, the Saturn V as a launch vehicle, would fall under the ITAR provisions. Perhaps I should have worded my closing question to the original post differently: Is the Saturn V still subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), now that most, if not all of its technical details are in the public domain (at least all the details you would find on a souvenir poster)?

NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 2190.1, Chapter 5, International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Procedures, Section 5.3 License Exemptions, provides the following:

22 CFR §125.4(b)(13): Publicly Available Information About Defense Articles. Exports of publicly available information about defense articles. This Exemption is applicable to information approved by NASA for public release in any form, usually through the procedures of NPR 2200, "Guidelines for Documentation, Approval, and Dissemination of NASA Scientific and Technical Information." It does not require that the information be published in order to qualify for the Exemption.
And then there is the information publicly available on NASA's own website.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3023
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-28-2007 11:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having direct access to a lot of NASA material available through DOD and government restricted channels in the course of my Research Development Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) responsibilities with the military I have viewed a considerable volume of Saturn Apollo material that is "For Official Use Only" (on balance at least equal to what has been authorized for public release) which contains greater specificity on launch vehicle design as well as the industrial processes used to manufacture them.

And ITAR does make a distinction between technical material and the components — actual components can independently be used as first generation progenitors of foreign technology or back engineered to reproduce them. Some information which has been government sanctioned for release may be exempt from ITAR, but to my knowledge there is no blanket statutory exemption for the Saturn program.

Prospero
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Posts: 90
From: Manchester, UK
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 07-29-2007 04:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Prospero     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's a shame, I was going to save up and buy a Saturn V

gliderpilotuk
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Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 07-29-2007 04:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dtemple:
Original NAA drawings had to be destroyed. I feel safer now because the terrorists will not be able to build a Saturn V and launch it at us!
Precisely. I have held off destroying my 1/72 Airfix Saturn V until we get clarity on this. I'd be concentrating my efforts on exports of hi-tech military equipment to a favoured "ally" which mysteriously finds its way to China for reverse engineering into missiles.

capoetc
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Posts: 1705
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 07-29-2007 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gliderpilotuk:
I have held off destroying my 1/72 Airfix Saturn V until we get clarity on this.
There will be a lot of space collectors who are very unhappy when the government vehicles pull up outside their home and force them to watch while they destroy their Saturn V model with eight moonwalker signatures on it...

cspg
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Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 07-30-2007 12:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So items like "commercially-purchased posters showing the Saturn V internals in very rough detail" should be destroyed? What a joke!

You can still get the Apollo/Saturn launch vehicles poster from Apogee Books, poster with precisely the Saturn V internals in very rough detail... and it ships from Canada.

Dwayne Day
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Posts: 532
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 07-30-2007 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few things:
  • the person who originally made this claim (look at his website) is a little hot-headed (in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, he put up a website with a picture of himself holding up his middle finger to the terrorists) and prone to angry rants. His claim may be accurate, but it's worth considering the source.

  • ITAR is just blurry enough that overly bureaucratic types can easily fly off the handle. They can interpret everything as ITAR-controlled. A few months ago I obtained some reports from JPL on the never-built follow-on to the Surveyor lunar lander. Significant portions, including illustrations of the vehicle inside the launch shroud, were denied due to ITAR. I cannot figure out how drawings of a hypothetical spacecraft that was never built can be ITAR-controlled when the actual vehicle, as well as significant documentation on it, has long resided in museums.

  • if the people actually responsible for ITAR are confused about it, this is nothing compared to the rocket-inclined public. I just read some comments that blame this on the Clinton administration, which is a bit of a distortion of what happened. In short, the rules used to be less strict. But in 1998 some Republicans in Congress decided that China had benefited from US rocket technology and they passed some stricter regulations regarding ITAR (you can Google "Cox Report" for details, although I note that the Wikipedia entry leaves out a lot of criticism of the report, including the fact that it was incredibly sloppy about its facts). Ever since the 1998 report, ITAR has been interpreted much more narrowly, but the current administration has tended to be even tougher on the issue. So although this stuff tightened up during the last administration, it has essentially been a Republican issue all along.

  • from what I've heard, reading the regulations closely doesn't help clarify things all that much, because they don't simply control documents and technology, but knowledge of how to do things, so Saturn rocket technology can easily fall under the ITAR restrictions.

  • ITAR is a problem for little guys, but merely an irritant for bigger players like large aerospace corporations. Companies need to hire skilled lawyers to figure this stuff out, and big companies can easily afford expensive lawyers, whereas small companies cannot.

  • there have been many unintended consequences of ITAR, including apparently contributing to the independence of some other countries' rocket capabilities. The Indians, in particular, have stated that they would have been happy to buy some American technology, but ITAR forced them to develop it on their own, which they did -- and it is now not controlled by ITAR. So ITAR may have slowed down technology proliferation, but it might have also ultimately undercut the goals of the controls as well.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-30-2007 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott Lowther has posted an update to NASASpaceFlight.com's thread:
Just got off the phone with the GD export control compliance guy... there *IS* *NOT* a problem with the stuff on my webpage. As to the tale of Saturn V posters getting shredded... that's not GD's doing, nor their current policy.

The Sat V poster shredding may have been an isolated incident.

Dwayne Day
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Posts: 532
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Registered: Feb 2004

posted 07-31-2007 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Note how this story went from "ITAR is blocking Saturn V data!" to "er, never mind..." Didn't I suggest considering the source?

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-31-2007 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To be fair though Dwayne, while the interest in Lowther's website was ultimately benign, the report from his contact at KSC was of actions already taken. And though it appears that was an isolated incident, it shouldn't have occurred at all, assuming the account of what transpired is accurate (I've asked Lowther for further details).

Dwayne Day
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Posts: 532
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Registered: Feb 2004

posted 08-01-2007 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah, but in this case considering the source means considering that this person is easily prone to anger and hostility (as a quick review of some of his postings will reveal). So it is possible that he blew something all out of proportion.

All times are CT (US)

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