Space

September 6, 2012

New California law to help commercial space flights by Mojave tenants

At the Sept. 4 meeting of the East Kern Airport District, CEO Stuart Witt noted passage of AB 2243. The board approved applying for state matching funds for the new FAA Airport Improvement Program grant, and it also approved a change in the airport security contractor.

The California legislature unanimously approved bill 2243, Space Flight Liability and Immunity Act, which relieves space flight providers from damages if informed consent is obtained from space flight participants. The bill awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. When signed, it becomes effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Other states with commercial spaceports have already passed similar legislation, which in some cases also includes immunity for suppliers of space flight aircraft components. Those states include New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, Colorado and Texas. The bill is important to Mojave Air and Space Port, as it removes a block from tenants who will be offering space flights. The airport has been trying to get this sort of legislation in California for several years.

FAA AIP grant 3-06-0154-027-2012 in the amount of about $3,532,000 was awarded and accepted a few weeks ago. It will rehabilitate runway 4-22.

The California Department of Transportation will provide a grant of 2.5 percent of the value of the FAA grant. This will bring about $88,300 into the airport budget. The request for these matching funds was approved by the board for submittal to the state. Also, the staff is devising plans to minimize active runway incursions when aircraft taxi from to and from the runways.

Security guards for the airport are currently provided by a contractor.

The present contractor has changed corporate identity about four times in five years. his instability caused the staff to solicit a new contractor.

Allied Barton is the largest American-owned security services firm, and has submitted a bid that will save the airport about $31,000 per year. They have five offices in the Los Angeles area. The board approved giving the present contractor the required 60-day notice to cancel its contract, and to enter a new contract with Allied Barton.

 




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