Florida Limits Spaceflight Liabilities to Attract Launch Businesses 

Image: NASA

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law last week to reduce the liability for commercial spaceflight companies in a bid to lure even more launch providers to the Space Coast.

The law grants launch businesses sweeping immunity from flight-related injury or death liability, on the condition that the crew members sign a waiver. The bill aims to “limit the cost of litigation to businesses engaging in spaceflight activities,” making Florida’s Space Coast an even more attractive HQ for space companies.

SpaceX prize: The law, signed a day after DeSantis announced his run for president on Twitter with Elon Musk, comes at a time when SpaceX is facing increasing uncertainty and pushback from the community at its $3B Starbase launch facility in Boca Chica, TX. 

  • After Starship’s orbital test flight scattered miles of debris, the FAA and SpaceX were hit with a lawsuit brought forth by environmental groups. 
  • The lawsuit calls for a Starbase environmental impact statement (EIS) review, which could take years to complete.

“[An EIS] would set us back for quite some time,” Elon Musk said last year. “We would have to shift our priorities to Cape Kennedy.”

SpaceX is already in the process of building a launch pad at Cape Canaveral, FL. How the launch giant divides its operations between Florida and Texas is still up in the air. 

FL vs. TX: As the Sunshine State attempts to attract space business, the Lone Star State is also ramping up its economic incentives. The Texas legislature recently passed a bill committing $350M to fund and support Texas aerospace and space projects.