The House of Representatives today unanimously approved H.R. 6586, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS), that extends for two years a commercial space transportation risk-sharing and liability regime that was established by Congress in 1988 with passage and enactment of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act.
The bill extends the law, indemnifying commercial launch and reentry operators against catastrophic losses suffered by the uninvolved public. The Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee held two hearings this Congress examining activities of the Office of Commercial Space Transportation and the performance of its licensing and indemnification regime.
"Administration and industry witnesses provided compelling evidence that indemnification for third-party claims is needed to preserve a US commercial launch market," said Subcommittee Chairman Palazzo. "I want to reiterate that the federal government's exposure is only for third-party claims, and only for amounts that exceed the maximum probable loss determined by the Office of Commercial Space Transportation. Our commercial space launch industry needs this extension."
The bill was approved by voice vote. Cosponsors include: Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX), Vice Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Committee Members, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).