September 25, 2012
CALIFORNIA TO LET EARLY SPACE ADVENTURERS KILL THEMSELVES, AS LONG AS THEY ARE INFORMED ABOUT RISKS: As Katherine Mangu-Ward notes at Reason, Jerry Brown “signed a bill on Friday limiting the liability of private space companies:”
In this, California follows the lead of the federal Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act, which treats space adventurers more like scuba divers or paragliders than airline passengers. Space companies are still liable for harm caused to bystanders, but for the guys and gals who choose to suit up and ship out, informed consent is all that’s required.
So why is California going out of its way to offer a space-company friendly environment? The reasoning is right there in Section 1 of the legislation, A.B. 2243:
Over the past few decades, California has lost much of its human space flight industry to other states, such as Alabama, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas.
I doubt many politicians in Sacramento watch the videos produced by PJTV’s Bill Whittle, but he mentioned that very point recently:
California, which once brought the world the X-1, the X-15, and the Space Shuttle – not to mention Star Trek and Star Wars — is more into going Back to the Future these days – rather than, you know, the actual future.
However, plenty of people in California are finding their own methods of reaching escape velocity, one way or another.