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NASA Seeking Info on Liability Approaches for Private Astronaut Missions to ISS

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NASA is seeking feedback on a proposed liability framework to ensure the implementation of certification guidelines and insurance policies for private astronaut missions (PAM).

The agency said in a request for information posted Wednesday on the beta SAM website that it encourages input from third parties that may be impacted by the planned PAM framework including launch services providers and insurance companies.

NASA intends to select a PAM provider through which the agency will “impose requirements with respect to training, performing proximity operations and docking” with the International Space Station (ISS) as well as habitation aboard the orbiting laboratory.

NASA will certify commercial transportation vehicles for ISS missions while the PAM provider will handle matters such as crew training certification, information technology systems requirements, ISS safety guidelines and Multilateral Crew Operations Panel standards for private astronauts.

Responses to the RFI are meant to inform NASA’s efforts to modify the draft liability framework, identify appropriate types of insurance and develop a PAM implementation approach, the agency noted.

According to a Nextgov report, the RFI comes after NASA unveiled its Vision for Low-Earth Orbit Economy in June 2019. Last month, Virgin Galactic entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA to develop an astronaut readiness program for private missions to the ISS.

NASA will accept feedback on the recent RFI through Sept. 1st, 2020.