The Final Frontier
Since you were a kid and watched Star Wars and/or Star Trek, you’ve always dreamed of going into space one day. However, you never really had the motivation to become an astronaut.
With Space Tourism looming on the horizon, the Legislators in Texas have recently made our state attractive to those businesses by limiting liability for space flight activities.
This means a greater chance of space travel from Texas.
What Are Space Flight Activities?
According to the text of the new law, Space Flight Activities encompass pretty much anything you can imagine NASA doing; such as preparing for launch, flight, or reentry; the conduct of launch; conduct between launch and reentry; reentry and descent; landing; and post landing recovery operations.
However, the law doesn’t just limit the liability of space flight activities conducted by NASA, but to any “Space Flight Entity” that is conducting space flight activities.
What is a Space Flight Entity?
A Space Flight Entity means a person who has obtained the appropriate FAA license or other authorization, and also includes a manufacturer or supplier of components used in space flight activities and employees, stockholders, members, managers, or partners of such entities.
How Much Liability is Limited?
The space flight entity is not liable to any person for a space flight participant injury or damages arising out of the space flight participant injury if that participant has signed the new statutory agreement and warning statement. Texas CPRC § 100A.003
However, this new law does not limit the liability for an injury that is proximately caused by the space flight entity’s gross negligence evidencing willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the space flight participant or for an injury that is intentionally caused by the entity.
What Does This All Mean to Me?
Here’s the simple breakdown, companies are going to follow the path of cheapest revenue. One factor that makes business expensive is potential lawsuits. This law prevents huge lawsuits against space tourism companies unless there is willful or wanton gross negligence or unless they intentionally cause an injury.
Since space tourism companies have less worry about these lawsuits in Texas, we may see more of them here. Although, since you’ll have limited recourse if something goes wrong, I suggest you ensure your life insurance policy is in order, and your Estate Plan is complete.
Source: HB 115 (to become Texas CPRC § 100A)
–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Civil Litigation Division
1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479