Gov. of Florida, Ron DeSantis (R-FL) signed a bill related to spaceflight on Thursday, just one day after announcing his presidential run in a glitch-packed interview with Elon Musk on Twitter Spaces.
DeSantis, along with 27 other bills, signed into law CS/SB 1318 – Spaceflight Entity Liability. The law exempts “aerospace entity from liability for injury to or death of a crew resulting from spaceflight activities under certain circumstances.” The measure also requires “a spaceflight entity to have a crew sign an itemized warning statement.”
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Florida is a well-known launching point for SpaceX aircraft, and the new law could potentially shield Musk and other spaceflight companies from prosecution for accidents that injure or kill crew members.
The law specifies an “aerospace entity” as a “public or private entity that holds a launch, reentry, operator, or launch site license from the United States Federal Aviation Administration for spaceflight activities or is otherwise authorized by the United States government to conduct spaceflight activities. to be carried out. “
DeSantis is currently embroiled in an ongoing feud with Disney, having revoked Disney’s control of Reedy Creek in February as punishment for the company’s opposition to anti-LGBTQ legislation championed by the governor. “We will not have a company that controls its own government,” DeSantis stated at the time, ironically but unsurprisingly. “So the state will have a board to run it. So Disney will no longer have self-governing status.”
DeSantis reportedly accepted multiple donations from Disney, totaling $100,000 between 2019 and 2021. Disney was also one of the sponsors of his gubernatorial inauguration earlier this year.
Last month, SpaceX’s private spaceport in South Texas launched the most powerful rocket ever built before the spacecraft exploded over the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion reportedly hurled chunks of concrete and metal thousands of feet into sensitive habitat and started a 9-acre fire on state park land near the launch site. Environmental groups and cultural heritage nonprofits are suing the Federal Aviation Administration in federal court, arguing that the agency has not conducted a comprehensive environmental assessment.
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