ABSTRACT

Liability Risk Sharing Regime for U.S. Commercial Space Transportation: Study and Analysis   [open pdf - 13MB]

This report presents the results of a study and analysis of seven issues related to liability risk-sharing for commercial space transportation. It includes public views and recommendations in addition to those of interested federal agencies, as directed by Congress. The issues are delineated as follows: (1) analyze the adequacy, propriety, and effectiveness of, and the need for, the current liability risk-sharing regime in the United States for commercial space transportation;(2) examine the current liability and liability risk-sharing regimes in other countries with space transportation capabilities;(3) examine the appropriateness of deeming all space transportation activities to be "ultrahazardous activities" for which a strict liability standard may be applied and which liability regime should attach to space transportation activities, whether ultrahazardous activities or not; (4) examine the effect of relevant international treaties on the Federal Government's liability for commercial space launches and how the current domestic liability risk-sharing regime meets or exceeds the requirements of those treaties; (5) examine the appropriateness, as commercial reusable launch vehicles enter service and demonstrate improved safety and reliability, of evolving the commercial space transportation liability regime towards the approach of the airline liability regime; (6) examine the need for changes to the Federal Government's indemnification policy to accommodate the risks associated with commercial spaceport operations; and (7) recommend appropriate modifications to the commercial space transportation liability regime and the actions required to accomplish those modifications.

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