Senate passes Uresti's space flight liability bill
The Texas Senate on Tuesday passed Sen. Carlos Uresti's space flight liability bill - an important milestone in the countdown toward launching the space tourism industry in Texas.
Designed to provide legal protection to space flight companies, Senate Bill 115 would strengthen the waivers of liability signed by passengers who were made aware of the risks involved with sub-orbital flight.
"By making sure that courts enforce waivers of liability, private space flight companies can stay focused on the development of the space tourism industry, which holds a lot of promise for the West Texas economy," Uresti said.
While the measure would apply to any commercial space flight company in Texas, Uresti hopes it will further the progress of Blue Origin, which is developing a vertical take-off and landing vehicle at its space port in Van Horn.
Created by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin is already one of the largest taxpayers in Culberson County. The company hopes to begin sub-orbital journeys into space by 2012.
Long known for the McDonald Observatory in nearby Jeff Davis County, West Texas could enhance its space science reputation with such an industry.
"Texas is a land of big ideas and big dreams," Uresti said. "If the commercial space flight industry can get established here, the sky won't be the limit anymore."
Senator Uresti represents Senate District 19, a 55,000 square mile area extending from San Antonio in Bexar County to the Lower Valley of El Paso County. The largest legislative district in the nation, it spans two time zones and contains nine of the 14 border counties in Texas, two-thirds of the U.S.-Mexico border within Texas, and all or part of 23 counties.