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Thu, Jan 03, 2013

Congress Passes Risk-Sharing Regime Extension For The Space Launch Industry

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation Applauds Passage Of The Legislation

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation on Wednesday thanked Members of Congress for the extension of government risk-sharing for commercial launch companies. A bill to extend the current framework for one year passed the House and Senate in the closing hours of the 112th Congress, and has been sent to the President for signature. The previous law expired on December 31, 2012.

The Senate action on Monday and House action Wednesday extends a liability risk-sharing regime created by Congress that requires commercial launch companies to purchase insurance for any reasonable risk of damage to third parties, and provides an expedited appropriations backstop above that amount and below a statutory limit. Since it was first put into place in 1988, the regime has never been triggered, but it has provided risk-management support to the industry and helped keep high-tech jobs in America. Other countries that provide launch services, including China, Russia, France, and Japan, have expansive government risk-sharing for launch providers.

“The American launch industry has become a highly competitive and important sector, both in the orbital and suborbital markets,” said CSF President Michael Lopez-Alegria. “I commend Congress’s attention to this issue, as it will continue to support high-tech jobs in the launch industry and will allow the U.S. to compete in the international market.”

Stuart Witt, CEO and General Manager of the Mojave Air & Space Port and Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation said, “Government risk-sharing serves an important role in the commercial space industry by ensuring companies don’t have to bet the farm on every launch, and it does so at no cost to taxpayers. We thank all the Members in the House and the Senate that worked through the holidays on this important legislation, in particular the many Representatives who worked to pass this provision in the House, including Congressmen Steven Palazzo, Ralph Hall, Kevin McCarthy, Dana Rohrabacher, Adam Schiff, James Sensenbrenner and Lamar Smith, and Senators Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Bill Nelson and Kay Bailey Hutchison for their tenacious work on this issue in the Senate."

“The new year will undoubtedly bring new accomplishments and new excitement in commercial spaceflight,” said Alex Saltman, CSF Executive Director. “Congress will be addressing many policy issues affecting the industry, and we will continue to work toward a long-term risk-sharing provision that would provide certainty to a growing industry.”



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