Colorado may become the next state to pass a law limiting the liability commercial spaceflight operators would be exposed to. The Denver Post reports that a committee of the Colorado Senate approved a liability indemnification bill on Monday. The legislation, Senate Bill 35, would offer companies that provide commercial human spaceflight services similar indemnification from lawsuits as currently exist in several other states, including Florida, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia. The bill states that a “spaceflight entity” (a holder of an FAA license) is not liable for the injury or death of a spaceflight participant except in a few circumstances, including gross negligence and intentional injury. Spaceflight participants would have to sign a waiver acknowledging that limited liability.
The legislation is the latest step by Colorado to try and create a commercial spaceflight industry in the state. Colorado is already home to a number of space companies, including firms like United Launch Alliance and Sierra Nevada Corporation with an interest in commercial human spaceflight, but they carry out their launches out of state. In December state officials announced they were beginning the process to win a launch site operators license (aka spaceport license) for Front Range Airport, a general aviation facility just a few kilometers southeast of Denver International Airport. That airport could host flights by horizontal takeoff and landing vehicles, but no specific customers for it have been lined up yet.