International collaborations for space-based research require compliance with export/import regulations of several federal agencies. The regulations most applicable to the work effort of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) concern export/import in the following general categories: Category XI - Military and Space Electronics; Category XV - Spacecraft Systems and Associated Equipment, regulated by the U. S. Department of State (International Trade in Arms Regulations [ITAR] 22 CFR 120-130, including the U. S. Munitions List [USML]), also Category 6 - Lasers and Sensors and Category 9 - Propulsion Systems, Space Vehicles and Related Equipment regulated by the U. S. Department of Commerce (Export Administration Regulations [EAR] 15 CFR 730-799, including the Commerce Control List [CCL]).

The bulk of the exports for a scientific collaboration usually consists of "Technical Data" that is, data concerning regulated hardware or software (e.g. requirements and interface control documents). To comply with export regulations, transfer of technical data to foreign partners and foreign employees requires either a license or an exemption.


SAO is currently registered with the State Department's Office of Defense Trade Controls (DTC) for electronic license submissions via Electronic Licensing Entry System (ELLIE). The Smithsonian is currently in the process of registering with the Department of Commerce.

During the proposal preparation, submission and contract negotiation stages, SAO policy requires that scientific/technical employees: be familiar with current export/import regulations and are encouraged to contact the SAO Export Compliance Official (SAO/ECO) for all export/import compliance issues. If any non-U. S. disclosures are necessary, including Technical Data, the SAO/ECO will obtain the appropriate license from either the U. S. Department of State or U. S. Department of Commerce and will start a file to identify and account for ITAR or Commerce controlled transactions.

Contracts issued by NASA, involving international participation, include the FAR Supplement Clause 1852.225-70 Alternate 1. NASA contractors and subcontractors are subject to U. S. export/import control laws and regulations including ITAR and EAR. They are responsible for obtaining the appropriate licenses or other approvals or providomg technical assistance to a foreign destination or "foreign person" (as defined in 22 CFR 120.16) if there are no applicable or available exemptions/exceptions to the ITAR/EAR.

The exemption at 22 CFR 125.4(b)(3) of the ITAR provides that a contractor may export technical data without a license if the contract between the agency and the exporter provides for the export of data. It is NASA policy that the exemption at 22 CFR 125.4(b)(3) may only be used when technical data (including software) is exchanged with a NASA foreign partner pursuant to the terms of an international collaborative effort. Concurrence from the Office of Procurement (Code HS) at NASA is required for all Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with foreign entities and for other types of international agreements such as Technical Assistance Agreements (TAA), which contemplate the procurement of goods or services using U. S. appropriated funds. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory will participate in the preparation, negotiation and execution of such agreements.