42 USC Sec. 2458b Insurance and indemnification
(a) Authorization 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 2473(c) of this title.
(b) Indemnification 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: Provided, That such indemnification may be limited to claims resulting from other than the actual negligence or willful misconduct of the user.
(c) Terms of indemnification agreement; notice; United States control of or assistance in defense An agreement made under subsection (b) of this section that provides indemnification must also provide for - (1) 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 (2) control of or assistance in the defense by the United States, at its election, of that suit or claim.
(d) Certification of just and reasonable amount No payment may be made under subsection (b) of this section unless the Administrator or his designee certifies that the amount is just and reasonable.
(e) Payments Upon the approval by the Administrator, payments under subsection (b) of this section 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.
(f) Definitions As used in this section - (1) 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; (2) the term ''user'' includes anyone who enters into an agreement with the Administration for use of all or a portion of a space vehicle, who owns or provides property to be flown on a space vehicle, or who employs a person to be flown on a space vehicle; and (3) 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.
(Pub. L. 85-568, title III, Sec. 308, as added Pub. L. 96-48, Sec. 6(b)(2), Aug. 8, 1979, 93 Stat. 348.)