News Release from the office of Senator Carlos Uresti

April 27, 2009
CONTACT: Mark Langford at 512.463.0119

Uresti bill would boost space tourism in Texas

The Texas Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill by Sen. Carlos Uresti that could help ensure that a West Texas space flight company's reach toward the stars isn't grounded by an unjust lawsuit.

Senate Bill 2105, sent to the House on a vote of 31-0, would put teeth into the legal waivers of liability signed by space flight passengers who were made aware of the risks involved.

"This bill makes it clear that a waiver of liability means just what it says, and that it will be enforced," Uresti said. "The legal certainty it provides to private space flight companies will open the door to commercial space launches in Texas."

The legislation could boost the efforts of Blue Origin, which is developing a vertical take-off and landing vehicle at its space port in Van Horn, to put private citizens in space and become a major player in the fledgling space tourism industry.

Created by founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin is already the 4th largest taxpayer in Culberson County. The company hopes to begin sub-orbital journeys into space by 2012.

Uresti said his bill will allow Texas to continue its storied role in the history of space exploration as a leader in space tourism.

"The first word spoken on the moon was Houston," Uresti said. "I'd like to think that there's room in the lexicon of space flight for Van Horn."

Carlos Uresti is the senator from State Senate District 19 representing over 750,000 residents throughout a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico border, from San Antonio to El Paso County, including all or part of the following: Bandera, Bexar, Brewster, Culberson, Crockett, El Paso, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties. Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts and spans two time zones.