The House passed H.R. 6586 today, extending for two years the government’s authority to indemnify launch services companies from third party claims for certain amounts of money resulting from launch vehicle accidents.
The current authority expires on December 31, 2012. The bill was not controversial. Only five Members — four Republicans and one Democrat — were on the House floor to speak about the bill. All supported it. The main theme was that the U.S. launch services industry needs a level playing field in order to successfully compete with other countries that indemnify their companies.
Under current law, launch services companies must purchase insurance to cover the Maximum Probable Loss as calculated by the Federal Aviation Administration to cover claims from the general public in case they or their property are damaged by a launch failure. The government covers claims between $500 million and $2.7 billion. The company must cover claims above that.
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