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November 19, 2013


Whose fault is it anyway?
The politics and policy of commercial space pay to play

Maria-Vittoria “Giugi” Carminati, JD
Berg & Androphy

November 19, 2013
7:00 pm
Duncan Hall, McMurtry Aud.

Reception at 6:30 in Martel Hall

As many nations explore the utilization of space, the issue of a country’s liability for its space activities becomes critical. Current agreements were decided via treaties in the 1960s and 70s, but they focus on nation-to-nation liability. As private space companies become more prevalent, liability issues are becoming more complex. In 1988, Congress addressed some issues relevant to commercial space operators, but the relationship between spaceflight participants and would-be commercial human space operators was left open. States have attempted to fill the void, but politics and policy quickly interjected. The ways risk, liability, and indemnification are distributed is steeped in national notions of personal responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit, support for the industry, and questions of social cost, as well as political and financial clout. All of these factors contribute to the current space law landscape in the U.S. Carminati will illuminate this legal landscape and how it impacts the developing commercial space industry.

Prof. Carminati is a trial attorney at Berg & Androphy, where she practices qui tam, commercial litigation, and white collar criminal defense. She obtained her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Houston Law Center in 2008. From 2008 to 2013 she practiced at the prestigious law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges. In 2013 she obtained her L.L.M. in Space, Cyber & Telecommunications Law from the University of Nebraska Law School. And in July 2013 Prof. Carminati became Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston Law Center. Prof. Carminati is an attorney with expertise in space law. She has published articles about the regulation and licensing of commercial space in a variety of publications, ranging from Acta Astronautica to the Aerospace Medical Association’s Blue Journal and the Air & Space Lawyer. And in 2012, Prof. Carminati co-authored the ABA Best Seller, The Laws of Spaceflight: A Guidebook for Newspace Lawyers. Prof. Carminati is a member of the International Institute of Space Law and an officer of the North American Round for the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. Prof. Carminati is also CFO and Business Manager for ADE Aerospace Consulting LLC, an aerospace medical consulting start-up.