Space Technologies and the Export Control System in the United States: Prospects for Meaningful Reform

  • Henry R. Hertzfeld
Part of the Yearbook on Space Policy book series (YEARSPACE)


The export controls imposed by the United States are law, and the one law that receives the largest amount of criticism from the space community is the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).457 The penalties for violating export control laws are severe.458 However, they are not the only laws in the United States that have a severe impact on foreign relations and trade. There are many others, including the Patriot Act,459 the Iran Nonproliferation Act,460 and the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control.461 And there are at least ten government agencies that have regulatory responsibilities for these and other related laws. Although this paper will focus on ITAR and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR),462 even reform or changes in these laws would not significantly change the overall policy, approach, and attitude now present in the United States toward security. However, adjustments to the regulations with regard to communications satellite technology and other commercial dual-use space items would recognise the realities of a global industry, benefit domestic firms, and add to the competitiveness of those firms internationally.


Space Technology Space Policy Federal Aviation Administration Export Control Space Sector 
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  1. 457.
    The CFR 730-774 International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (22 CFR 120–130) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR-based on a Presidential Directive that implements the now expired Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA, P.L. 96–72) are the most visible and controversial laws that have a direct impact on space manufacturing and trade in space-related goods and services.Google Scholar
  2. 459.
    U.S. Patriot Act of 2001, Public Law No: 107-56 (2001).Google Scholar
  3. 460.
    United States Congress. “Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005.” Public Law 109–112, 25 November 2005.Google Scholar
  4. 462.
    Op. cit., footnote 1.Google Scholar
  5. 466.
    Squassoni, Sharon, and Marcia Smith. “The Iran Nonproliferation Act and the International Space Station: Issues and Options.” United States Congress, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 22 August 2005.Google Scholar
  6. 473.
    A more detailed summary can be found in Jakhu, Ram, and Joseph Wilson. “U.S. Export Control Regime and its Impact on the Communications Satellite Industry.” Annals of Air and Space Law 25 (2000): 157.Google Scholar
  7. 481.
    15 CFR 730–774.Google Scholar
  8. 483.
    These were being launched under a waiver of the economic restrictions placed by the U.S. on China after the Tiananmen Square incident and the subsequent Tiananmen Square Sanctions Law (P.L. 101–246) in 1990.Google Scholar
  9. 485.
    U.S. Congress, Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999, Title XV, Subtitle B, (Public Law 105–261), 1998.Google Scholar
  10. 487.
    For a more complete discussion see: Hertzfeld, Henry R. “Globalization, Commercial Space and Spacepower in the USA.” Space Policy 23.4 (2007): 210–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 488.
    See, for example, Article VII of the ESA Charter (ESA, SP-1271(E), March 2003).Google Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2009

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  • Henry R. Hertzfeld

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