Feds lift export ban on commercial satellites

The aerospace industry can now begin exporting commercial satellites.

In a final rule published in the Federal Register on Monday, the Department of Commerce removed commercial communications satellites from its list of military technology.

“This military classification heavily restricted the export of commercial communications satellites and related components, causing U.S. industry to lose critical market share to foreign competitors and forcing some small companies out of the market to the detriment of this important industry base sector,” the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) said in a news release.

In 2012, Congress passed legislation that gave the administration authority to allow commercial satellite exports.

Monday’s rule, the AIA said, moves the technology to the Commerce Control List where it will be more appropriately and safely controlled by the agency’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

“We applaud this change in support of the U.S. commercial satellite industry,” the AIA said. “We look forward to future initiatives from Congress and the administration to enhance the global competitiveness of the U.S. aerospace and defense industry.”

Commercial communications satellites carry media content, deliver satellite TV and radio, and offer mobile data globally, according to the Satellite Industry Association.