House Passes Bill to Extend the Commercial Space Transportation Liability Regime

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(Washington, DC) - Today, H.R. 6586, a bill that provides a two-year extension to the existing commercial space launch indemnification regime, passed the House by voice vote under suspension of the rules. Under the Commercial Space Launch Act Amendments of 1988, a system was established that spreads the risk from a commercial space launch mishap or failure between the launch provider and the government for potential damages or losses concerning uninvolved public or property. It has been extended five times since its original enactment.

Ranking Member of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, Jerry F. Costello (D-IL), said, "This risk sharing regime has been vitally important for the development of a commercial space launch industry in the U.S. Moreover, to date, the regime has not cost the U.S. government a penny in third party claims. The current extension expires on December 31st of this year, so I'm relieved that Congress acted now while there is sufficient time for this legislation to make its way to the President before the current authority expires."

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said, "There are important issues that need to be considered as we move forward, relative to the future character of the liability regime. We don't really have time to address these issues in what remains of this Congress, but I hope we'll give them thoughtful and comprehensive attention before the next extension is necessary in 2014."

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