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Deal reached on New Mexico spaceflight liability legislation
Posted: Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 7:42 AM ET (1242 GMT)
Spaceport America terminal building (J. Foust) New Mexico state legislators confirmed Wednesday that they have reached a deal with a state lawyers organization and commercial spaceflight provider Virgin Galactic to amend the state's spaceflight liability legislation. Virgin Galactic, the anchor tenant of the state's Spaceport America, had sought an update to the state's legislation, extending its protection to suppliers and other companies supporting spaceflight activities there. That effort had previously been blocked by the state's trial lawyers association, who believed it unduly restricted the right of people on such flights to sue companies in the event of an accident. The deal will allow some protection to be extended to other companies, although require them to hold liability insurance and still allow suits in the event of "reckless disregard for the safety" of spaceflight participants. Virgin Galactic had previously suggested it might reconsider its plans to operate commercial suborbital spaceflights from Spaceport America if the current law, which covers only spaceflight operators, wasn't updated.
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