California vies for new space industry

August 24, 2013 • Business

FILE – In this April 29, 2013 photo provided by Virgin Galactic, the company’s SpaceShipTwo fires its rockets over Mojave, Calif. after it was dropped from its “mothership,” WhiteKnightTwo. It is one of several new private ventures that involve taking people into outer space for a price, ventures that many hope will become as lucrative as they are revolutionary. And that prospect has California racing other states to woo new space companies with cushy incentives. (AP Photo/Virgin Galactic, Mark Greenberg, file)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As several new private ventures to take people on trips to space come closer to becoming reality, California lawmakers are racing other states to woo the new space companies with cushy incentives.

They are debating a bill now in Sacramento that would insulate manufacturers of spaceships and parts suppliers from liability should travelers get injured or killed on a voyage, except in cases such as gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing. Last year, the state enacted a law that shields space tourism companies such as Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic from similar lawsuits.

“We’re still in the fledgling part of space flight and space travel, and we need people to be able to take a risk,” said California Republican Sen. Steve Knight, who introduced both state bills.

Several other states — including Texas, Florida, Virginia and New Mexico — have passed similar laws, hoping to lure newcomers to the more Login to read more

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