Spaceport America Board Seeks Limited Liability Law for Suppliers

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports on a crucial effort to expand New Mexico’s limited liability law for commercial spaceflights:

Spaceport America’s future hinges upon a proposed change in the law being pitched for next year’s Legislature, spaceport officials contended Tuesday.

The measure would limit legal liability for companies supplying parts for spaceflight equipment and vehicles, said New Mexico Spaceport Authority executive director Christine Anderson.

The bill would prevent passengers of Virgin Galactic suborbital spaceflights from suing the supplier companies if something malfunctions, Anderson. She said the legislation wouldn’t, however, prohibit them from suing in the event of gross negligence or an intentionally caused problem.

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority board on Wednesday voted unanimously to back the proposed legislation.

Spaceport Authority board member Sid Gutierrez, a former astronaut, expressed support for the proposal.

“I think the Legislature needs to understand this is ‘make or break’ legislation,” he said, speaking by teleconference during the meeting.