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Re: APRSat Rumors!

On Fri, 12 Feb 1999, Bob Bruninga wrote:

(bits of text snipped out)

 I'm glad to hear that someone tried to get an AMSAT payload onto this
booster. When I first read about it, the whole concept of this much
mass going to GTO as one big, dumb hunk of junk seemed a crying shame.
> But alas, the STATE DEPARTMENT just killed us!  Our FREE ride was on the
> launch of a totally passive dummy 3,000 lb MASS being launched to test the
> SEA LAUNCH system.  SInce the launch will be in international waters,
> using a Russian Rocket, on a scandanavian ship with system integration by
> Boeing,  BOEING had to get a Technology Export License from the State
> Department for the Launch (This takes months if not years!).  Now, since
> Boeing was going to add us (an active payload) to their dummy mass, STATE
> DEPARTEMNT said NO.  They say, "this is a change to your export license
> which will have to be modified and resubmitted."

Ah, the joys of getting caught in the wheels of poltical infighting!
State now has *total* control over what satellites leave the country for
*any* non-US launch (including Arianespace!). Congress passed a rider
last year on the Defense budget that moved control of satellite exports
out of the Commerce Department and moved it back to State (where it had
been the subject of much cursing on the part of satellite makers for
many years). State can, for any reason, now deny an export license for
*any* satellite with more than 20% content made in the USA. They can
also take pretty much as long as they wish in issuing the license, and,
if that weren't enough of a kick in the teeth, they must also notify
Congress of the license, and then *they* get to put their $0.02 into
the mix (yes, including denying the license).
Congress fell into this particular fit of silliness after all of the
furrah over whether China got any "militarily useful" technology
out of it's launching of US satellites on it's boosters (something that
there has been a lot of ink wasted on, both in the pro and con). So,
Congress decided that the best thing to do was to place satellites 
under the same sorts of controls that an F-16 or tank might be under,
and give only minimal input to any other agency besides State. Be of
good cheer, though, you aren't the only one to feel their sting!
Globestar, one of the "Big LEO" satellite constellation companies, had
signed a deal to launch some of their satellites on Soyuz boosters
(to replace the Zenit launches they cancelled after 12 satellites dug
a hole in Siberia). State sat on the application because they were in
negotiations of a new launch accord with Russia, and they wanted to
use the contract as leverage!
> Boeing was actually getting excited about our system, since it wouild give
> them attitude and temperature information which they had no other means
> for getting from their totally passive mass.  Integration of our NATSweb
> satellite was on their work plan for integration and they have had
> engineers working with us in preparation for the clean room evolution for
> the last month.
> Boeing has been fighting for us now for a month trying to convince State
> Department that this is a trivial change and that it doesnt need this kind
> of bureaucratic process.  But with their BILLION$$$ launch on line and
> only weeks away, you can see why they cannot re-do their paperwork (which
> has been the subject of lots of State Department oversight of late) just
> for our $2000 attachment.  SO here, friday afternoon, we are bumped.
> And their 3000 chunk of steel goes to orbit (for hundreds of years)
> with no telemetry system at all..
Yeah, Boeing is good people. But, like the saying goes, they know which
side their bread is buttered on....

> But we DO now have a satellite READY TO GO for the next opportunity!
> (anyone know of another free launch...?)
Delta 3 is *supposed* to be flying without a payload (this may have
changed), and it is also handled by Boeing, so you might ask them
about this one (if Phase 3D hasn't chased it down). Outside of that,
given the above, I wouldn't hold my breath while I wait.

Good luck, Bob, hope you get a chance to fly your bird (as do all
the others out there waiting).

(bit more text snipped)


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