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Arizona Lawmakers Looking to Reduce Liability of Companies Offering Trips to Space

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Trips to space aren't exactly commonplace at the moment, but some lawmakers would like to address the liability of companies that plan to provide flights to space.

By addressing the issue of liability, one of the lawmakers behind the bill says he hopes space flight in Arizona will become a lot more common.

House Bill 2163, backed by a bipartisan group of representatives, says space corporations would be released from liability in commercial space travel, provided participants sign a release agreement found in the bill.

The caveat being that the company would still be liable if it intentionally caused someone's injury, or if that injury was caused by "gross negligence, evidencing willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the space flight participant."

The bill would benefit Tucson-based World View Enterprises, along with its partner company, Paragon Space Development Corporation. They are working to begin commercial space travel beginning in late 2016. Flights will cost $75,000, and participants will float above the stratosphere in the two-hour trip.

Former astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, signed on to World View as director of flight crew operations.

Both Texas and New Mexico have passed similar legislation, and Republican Representative Ethan Orr says he hopes this bill will provide security for companies to launch in Arizona, as opposed to other states.

"I'm very excited about this bill," Orr says. "When I think of Arizona and who we want to be, it involves dreaming about our future as an imaginative, creative state and this would put us at the forefront."

Through this bill, Orr hopes to secure Arizona's place in the space industry.

"In terms of atmospheric conditions, Page is one of the best places in the U.S. to launch commercial space flights," Orr said. "We should really take advantage of that."

Orr hopes the bill will reach the governor's office in six to eight weeks.

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