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Dr. Eligar Sadeh, Tuesday, 2-24-15 February 25, 2015

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Dr. Eligar Sadeh, Tuesday, 2-24-15


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Guest:  Dr. Eligar Sadeh.  Topics:  Export Control modifications & current affairs in space development/exploration.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed back Dr. Eligar Sadeh to update us on changes in the export control regimes for the U.S.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 44 minute segment, Dr. Sadeh discussed new changes in export control, mainly for satellites.  As Dr. Sadeh explained it, the new regime was moving toward self-policing by the industry with minimum government oversight.  During this segment, Eligar explained this, noted the changes from the previous ITAR regime, and we talked about the self-policing nature of the new regime. I took a rather “doubting thomas” view of the self-policing aspects of the new regime, both from a government and industry perspective.  Frequent listeners to this program will not be surprised by my view which by the way was rebuked by several callers to the show supporting the self-policing and minimum government oversight methodology as explained by our guest.  During this segment, we also inquired about the small satellites, cubesats, and the burden falling on the companies for compliance, even smaller start-up companies.  Eligar said many times that the process was in transition but the final rules have been published and now it is up to the companies to follow them.  When asked about major transition issues, our guest cited liability shifting to the companies and the self compliance issues plus monitoring.  As the segment was ending, Dave called in as one of the rebukes to my skeptical comments to make comparisons to similar changed that happened in the nuclear power industry in 1996.

In the second segment, Ft. Worth John (there are so many John’s calling the show I feel compelled to identify which John called) to support the new regime and to disagree with my skeptical analysis.  John offered some good insights and he made some excellent comments that added to our discussion.  Later in this segment, I asked Eligar for his thoughts on public private partnerships, international space partnerships, human spaceflight, robotic missions and more.  Christine in Salem sent us an email asking why Congress and those making space policy fail to value space as we in the advocate and enthusiast community value it.  Eligar challenged Christine with a comprehensive and very interesting reply.  Eligar was then asked if the new export regime was reached in a bi-partisan way.  Our guest had much to say about space being bi-partisan.  He also spoke about the academic journal Astropolitics as he is the editor of the journal.  Tim from Huntsville was our last caller.  He inquired about collision and liability issues  for small sats colliding with large satellites.

If you have questions/comments please post them on TSS blog per the above URL.  You can reach Dr. Sadeh through me.



1. DDAY - February 28, 2015

Good topic and good speaker. I’m glad that he addressed why it happened, although I still think there are more details to be known about that. For example, were there key changes in personnel and people who had opposed reform then left?

For many years (essentially 2005-recently) I would hear the ITAR issue come up again and again, often from scientists who believed that it was getting in the way of their work. And there was substantial evidence that it was hurting U.S. commercial activities. However, I would often hear a couple of wise old hands say “It doesn’t matter. That’s not a winning argument to the opponents of reform. They don’t care about the commercial issue. It is only if you can show that it is HURTING national security that you will get them to stop opposing changing ITAR.” Clearly that changed. So I’m wondering what were the examples of harm to national security that finally worked, and if there were other issues, such as changes in personnel.

One other thing that I think will remain an issue is uncertainty. There was substantial uncertainty before, and that causes people in mid-levels to say “no” to everything. I have seen this implemented in wacky ways. Back in 2003 we had a non-American citizen that we wanted to bring into an office complex and were told we could not do it under no circumstances even though we did not have any ITAR-controlled documents on the facility. People were just so scared that they refused everything.

2. Andy Hill - February 27, 2015

About 15 years ago the UK changed the way it assessed test labs, It had up until then run the National Measurement Accreditation Scheme (NAMAS) which was funded by the UK government and used its own experts to audit a lab, these technical experts were senior engineers working in its own test and calibration labs that were impartial and had no connection to lab being audited. There time and expenses was paid by the government. In an effort to save money, NAMAS was rebadged and privatised to become the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) which was funded by charging the lab being audited an annual fee. This has led to a number of things happening;

It is not in the interest of UKAS to fail any lab on an audit as it will be reducing its income. Suspension is extremely rare and non-compliances are normally minor making the whole audit a lot softer than it used to be. As an example I know of one test lab that has a salesman as its technical manager who has never performed any testing in his entire career and he is supposed to be the guy to go to to resolve technical issues, this would never have been permitted under the old scheme.

The assessors are no longer impartial as they often work in rival labs or are directly employed by UKAS who wishes to maximise the income it receives. Also the pool of assessors is relatively small so the same assessor can audit the same lab for over a decade, this familiarity results often in it being easier to bend a rule here or there because “its a good lab after all” and if it has a serious problem the auditor may be guilty of not finding it on previous visits.. Under the old scheme assessors were rotated around the different labs.

I think the self assessment that the US is moving towards for ITAR has some of these pitfalls associated with it and they should be very careful if they intend to put the fox in the chicken coup..

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