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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

IT'S THE LAW: Virginia Spaceflight Liability & Immunity Act to be Effective July 1st

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and the General Assembly have adopted a landmark Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act to require disclosure of risk associated with human flights aboard commercial space launch vehicles while providing liability protection to commercial space launch firms and their subcontractors.

Legislators meeting in a reconvened one-day session in Richmond today passed Gov. Kaine's amendment to original bill offered by State Delegate Terry G. Kilgore. The Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act will become effective July 1, 2007 with an anticipated life span of six years to July 1, 2013.

Virginia adds the first-of-its-kind measure to its quiver of arrows in seeking to make the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport a more business competitive location among a growing number of FAA licensed commercial spaceports in the United States.

While there remain skeptics about how a trial court judge would apply the new state law in a worst case scenario, the measure is the first state in the nation to adopt law to seek to lower human spaceflight insurance liability costs for commercial space launch firms boosting to space from its FAA-licensed Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Va.

The Space Frontier Foundation, The Personal Spaceflight Federation, the National Space Society, and Virginia's regional technology councils coordinated support with Del. Kilgore and Gov. Kaine for final passage of the bill into law.

UPDATE Thursday from Jesse Londin at the Space Law Probe.

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