wiki/ regulation

Regulations

PSAS is pursuing technologies that may fall under various regulations. In fact a very common question we get is "is this legal?" Here's our collective research into the regulatory domains of building and launching rockets.

  1. Regulations
    1. Amateur Rocketry Regulations
      1. High Powered Rockets
      2. Launch
    2. FAA Regulations
    3. BATFE Regulations
    4. ITAR Regulations
      1. PSAS & the US Munitions List (USML)

Amateur Rocketry Regulations

Our recent launches have all been low altitude (less than 100,000 feet. In fact, a lot less) and with a "small" rocket. With the exception of roll control it's unguided and simple. Lots of people launch simple rockets all around the world all the time. It is considered a safe fun hobby. There are no laws against the building or possession of simple rockets in the US, however there are two organizations that have stepped in and become de facto rule making bodies for rocketry. They are the Tripoli Rocket Association (TRA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR).

The way they regulate is through agreements with motor vendors (good luck buying a high power rocket motor in this country without their approval) and sponsored launches. TRA and NAR rules are more or less interchangeable and both organizations respect certification from the other. In other words if TRA says you can launch, then NAR will let you launch too.

High Powered Rockets

Rockets that have a total installed impulse of 320 N·s or a single engine larger than 160 N·s are considered "High Powered Rockets" (HPR). PSAS rockets are high power rockets.

Launch

We have been launching at TRA events, which means we are bound to their rules. They have a general safety code here: http://www.tripoli.org/Launches/Safety/HighPowerSafetyCode/tabid/185/Default.aspx

And range guidelines here: http://www.tripoli.org/Launches/Safety/RSOGuidelines/tabid/184/Default.aspx

And many more legal links here: http://www.tripoli.org/News/LegalRegulatory/tabid/110/Default.aspx

FAA Regulations

BATFE Regulations

ITAR Regulations

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) are codified at 22 CFR 120-130.

David Madden of Mersenne Law LLC has donated some pro-bono time to help us figure out how our open source technologies might fall under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Thank you David!

Also, thanks to Brice Barrett of the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition for his contacts and work trying to help us through the thicket of regulations.

PSAS & the US Munitions List (USML)

120.1 CATEGORY IV—LAUNCH VEHICLES, GUIDED MISSILES, BALLISTIC MISSILES, ROCKETS, TORPEDOES, BOMBS AND MINES
(a) Rockets
(b) Lauch Vehicles, launchers, systems
(c) Control, activation, monitoring of (a) and (b)

120.1 CATEGORY VIII—AIRCRAFT AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT
(e) Inertial navigation systems... does not apply since it is not for military equipment.

120.1 CATEGORY XI—MILITARY ELECTRONICS
Does not apply since it is not for military equipment.

120.1 CATEGORY XII—FIRE CONTROL, RANGE FINDER, OPTICAL AND GUIDANCE AND CONTROL EQUIPMENT
* (d) Inertial platforms and sensors for weapons or weapon systems; guidance, control and stabilization systems except for those systems covered in Category VIII;
Does not apply since this applies only to weapons or weapon systems.

120.1 CATEGORY XV—SPACECRAFT SYSTEMS AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT
(b) Ground control stations for telemetry, tracking and control of spacecraft or satellites
(c) Global Positioning System (GPS) receiving equipment ... with any of the following characteristics: (2) Designed for producing navigation results above 60,000 feet altitude and at 1,000 knots velocity or greater; THIS APPLIES

§ 121.16 Missile Technology Control Regime Annex.

TODO: Much of this applies