McCarthy supports risk-sharing

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

A congressional bill that could help unencumber regulation that is currently restricting California’s commercial space sector has been endorsed by local political and industry leaders.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy helped champion the risk-sharing legislation in 2012, set to expire at the end of next month. He is asking the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to extend that provision.

“Many believe that commercial spaceflight is poised to have its own ‘dot-com moment’ in the near future,” said McCarthy, who touted the creation of high-quality aerospace jobs as a reason to continue the support of the burgeoning commercial space industry in Califor-nia.

According to a statement from the Commercial Spaceflight Feder-ation, the current provision requires commercial launch companies to show financial responsibility (usually in the form of insurance) for liability resulting from damages to third parties, including the government, up to a value that, as calculated by the FAA, would be exceeded only in a 1-in-10-million chance accident.

“If such an unlikely event occurred, the law would then allow the Secretary of Transportation to seek expedited appropriations for funds above the insured amount but below another statutory limit.”

Stu Witt, CEO of Mojave Air and Space Port and CSF board chair, said there is existing motivation for commercial launch companies to be rigorous when it comes to safety. “For 20 years, the government has not been placed at risk. If a program that is put in place is working that well, I would [need] a compelling reason to change it. I would extend it indefinitely.”

Story First Published: 2013-11-27