Limited Liability Space Tourism Bill Introduced in Texas

A bill that would limit the liability of space tourism operators has been introduced in Texas. The measure would help Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin suborbital rocket company.

TechFlash reports that:

Texas lawmakers are considering legislation that could aid the Amazon.com founder’s ambitions. A bill introduced in the Texas Legislature would limit the liability of “space flight entities.” That would be useful for Blue Origin, which has a launch complex in West Texas.

The measure is similar to ones that have already been approved in Florida and Virginia. These laws prohibit tourists and their families from suing companies except in the case of negligence. The Texas bill states:

LIMITED LIABLITY. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a space flight entity is not liable to any person for a space flight participant injury or damages arising out of the space flight participation injury if the space flight participant has signed the agreement required by Section 100F.003 and given written consent as required by 49 U.S.C. Section 70105.

(b) This section does not limit liability for an injury:

(1) proximately caused by the space flight entity’s gross negligence evidencing wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of the space flight participant; or

(2) intentionally caused by the space flight entity.

Sec. 100F.003. WARNING REQUIRED. (a) A space flight participant must sign an agreement and warning statement before participating in any space flight activity. The agreement must include the following language and any other language required by federal law:

AGREEMENT AND WARNING

I UNDERSTAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT A SPACE FLIGHT ENTITY IS NOT LIABLE FOR ANY INJURY TO OR DEATH OF A SPACE FLIGHT PARTICIPANT RESULTING FROM SPACE FLIGHT ACTIVITIES. I UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE ACCEPTED ALL RISK OF INJURY, DEATH, PROPERTY DAMAGE, AND OTHER LOSS THAT MAY RESULT FROM SPACE FLIGHT ACTIVITIES.

Bezos’ Texas-based Blue Origin company plans to begin flying human suborbital missions as early as 2011.  Armadillo Aerospace, which also is based in Texas, plans to fly its suborbital jaunts out of Spaceport America in New Mexico. Officials at the New Mexico Spaceport Authority say they plan to pursue similar legislation.

Thanks for Clark Lindsey at Hobby Space for finding this story.