(Victor Valley)- – As the Space Shuttle Endeavor took off from Edwards Air Force Base, taking one last look at the Antelope Valley where it was built, and then flew over the State Capitol in Sacramento, Californians watched the end to an era. With the stroke of a pen, however, California will see the emergence of another era in space exploration with the signing of a measure by Assemblyman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale).
Knight introduced Assembly Bill 2243 at the urging of the state’s commercial space industry in an effort to ensure that California remains competitive in attracting and retaining its rich aerospace history.
“The entire Commercial Space Industry wishes to acknowledge and thank Assemblyman Knight for his steadfast leadership in sponsoring this required legislation,” said Stuart O. Witt, CEO of the Mojave Air and Spaceport, a dedicated advocate of the overall effort. “We also wish to thank the many members of the Assembly, Senate, local government and Federal Supporters together with Governor Brown for crafting meaningful policy, which is required by the job creators of tomorrow in our exciting new industry. This is a very big step forward and we couldn’t be more pleased at the outcome.”
Until recently, human space travel was accomplished through government space agencies, with volunteer participants assuming liability for injury and damage. Assembly Bill 2243 provides limited liability for commercial space ventures so innovators remain competitive in this promising market. California, and specifically the High Desert, has a long tradition of pioneering aviation for a century, and human spaceflight since the Apollo era. The state was also the site of the first private human space flight event, which resulted in the winning of the Ansari X Prize in Mojave, California, in 2004.
“Our rich history of space flight in California continues to have a future,” said Assemblyman Steve Knight. “Providing the commercial space industry with a competitive advantage will ensure our state maintains and possibly gains jobs in this important market.”
The States of Florida, Texas, and Virginia have enacted similar laws, and have become a magnet for human space flight companies currently doing business in California.
“California can now show its support of this private endeavor to preserve our legacy,” continued Assemblyman Knight. “It’s another large step for mankind.”
Knight’s AB 2243 unanimously passed the Legislature, and with the Governor’s signature will become effective January 1, 2013.