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Monday, April 13, 2009

Texas May Offer Commercial Space Launch Provider Protections Too!

Not to be outdone by New Mexico or California, the Texas state legislature is now considering a waiver of liability measure for commercial space flight reports Pudget Sound Business Journal's TechFlash (Amazon's Jeff Bezos). Texas is in the race with New Mexico and California, following both Virginia in 2007 and Florida in 2008 to sustain the race to space tourist liability waivers. Where is Oklahoma with a legislative waiver proposal one wonders?

The new round of spaceflight liability in Texas, New Mexico and California comes after a no change recommendation to the United States Congress of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act (CSLAA) - effectively removing the sunset clause of the federal act with respect to the informed consent principle. The principle underpins the CSLAA, which defines space tourists as "spaceflight participants" and states that they fly in an "environment of informed consent,"according to a recent report by Rod Coppinger at FlightGlobal. Coppinger provides an excellent underpinning as to why states are now on the move.*

Virginia's liability waiver law considered the CSLAA sunset provision and took a more conservative alternative of adding a July 1, 2013 sunset provision to the state's law. Virginia may now find the need to remove, extend, or allow to expire the state's liability waiver provision. The Florida law constains no such setset to mirror the former CSLAA sunset clause.

Commercial "spaceflight participants" advocates argue that the waivers may actually retard ticket purchase as would-be passengers shy away from waiver executions govered by such state laws. But commercial space launch competition among the states (especially those in the south and west) appear to be a variable driving legislation within the various legislatures this year and the two years past.

1 comment:

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