New Mexico Expands Spaceflight Liability Law

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New Mexico Gov. Susan Martinez on April 2 signed into law the New Mexico Expanded Space Flight Informed Consent Act in a ceremony at Spaceport America in the southern part of the state.

The bill extends the state’s existing commercial spaceflight liability indemnification to suppliers of companies who operate such vehicles.

After a previous effort to extend that protection died in the legislature last year, Virgin Galactic, the anchor tenant for Spaceport America, suggested it might move elsewhere if the liability law was not updated.

Spaceport supporters said the state’s trial lawyers association, who previously had opposed such legislation, worked out a compromise that breezed through the state legislature.

“With this legislation in place, Spaceport America will continue to become one of our nation’s hubs for commercial spaceflight,” Michael Lopez-Alegria, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, said in a statement.