51 U.S. Code § 20138 - Insurance and indemnification
Insurance and indemnification
(a)Definitions.—In this section:
The term “space vehicle” means an object intended for launch, launched, or assembled in outer space, including the space shuttle and other components of a space transportation system, together with related equipment, devices, components, and parts.
The term “third party” means any person who may institute a claim against a user for death, bodily injury, or loss of or damage to property.
The Administration is authorized on such terms and to the extent it may deem appropriate to provide liability insurance for any user of a space vehicle to compensate all or a portion of claims by third parties for death, bodily injury, or loss of or damage to property resulting from activities carried on in connection with the launch, operations, or recovery of the space vehicle. Appropriations available to the Administration may be used to acquire such insurance, but such appropriations shall be reimbursed to the maximum extent practicable by the users under reimbursement policies established pursuant to section 20113 of this title.
Under such regulations in conformity with this section as the Administrator shall prescribe taking into account the availability, cost, and terms of liability insurance, any agreement between the Administration and a user of a space vehicle may provide that the United States will indemnify the user against claims (including reasonable expenses of litigation or settlement) by third parties for death, bodily injury, or loss of or damage to property resulting from activities carried on in connection with the launch, operations, or recovery of the space vehicle, but only to the extent that such claims are not compensated by liability insurance of the user. Such indemnification may be limited to claims resulting from other than the actual negligence or willful misconduct of the user.
(d)Terms of Indemnification Agreement.—An agreement made under subsection (c) that provides indemnification must also provide for—
notice to the United States of any claim or suit against the user for the death, bodily injury, or loss of or damage to the property; and
(e)Certification of Just and Reasonable Amount.—
No payment may be made under subsection (c) unless the Administrator or the Administrator’s designee certifies that the amount is just and reasonable.
Upon the approval by the Administrator, payments under subsection (c) may be made, at the Administrator’s election, either from funds available for research and development not otherwise obligated or from funds appropriated for such payments.