Space industry liability bill passes New Mexico House

Posted at: 02/07/2013 1:15 PM
Updated at: 02/07/2013 5:35 PM
By: BARRY MASSEY Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The House has unanimously approved a proposal to help New Mexico develop a commercial space travel industry.

The measure approved Thursday will limit the liability of spacecraft manufacturers and their suppliers.

A separate but identical bill has passed the Senate, and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez backs the proposal British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic plans to fly tourists into space from New Mexico's more than $200 million spaceport.

A 2010 law protects Virgin Galactic, as a space travel operator, from being sued in most cases by passengers or their families if there is an accident during a flight.

The legislation will extend liability limitations to suppliers and manufacturers of spacecraft and their components.

Lawmakers said the liability shield is needed to attract space industry companies to New Mexico.

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