New Mexico Aims to Limit Liability from Space Flights

February 11, 2009

The New Mexico Legislature is hoping to limit lawsuits stemming from southern New Mexico’s Spaceport America. Senate Bill 37, the “Space Flight Liability and Immunity Act” sponsored by Sen. Clinton Harden, R-Clovis, wants space flight participants to acknowledge that “commercial human space flight activities involve inherent risks that cannot be eliminated or controlled through the exercise of reasonable care, and that justify the exculpation of ordinary negligence, and that these inherent risks provide the challenge and excitement that entice space flight participants.”

According to bill text, the purpose of the bill would be “to permit the use of waivers and releases of liability for space flight entities that will exculpate them from the inherent risks of space flight activities and their negligence.” Thus, if passed, the space flight entity would therefore not be liable for a participant’s injury because the participant has given informed consent to the risks, such as bodily injury, death, emotional injury, or property damage.

New Mexico acknowldges that commercial human space flight is an emerging industry that has the potential to have a significant economic impact on New Mexico and its residents, creating jobs and having a positive effect on the state’s tax base.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is evaluating the bill.

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Source: New Mexico Legislature

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