For example, when the Antares rocket, built and launched by commercial Orbital Sciences Corp burst into flames on October 28, 2014, it carried a lot of expensive payload. Did the company have to refund the loss of payload? Did they only return money received for the launch itself? Who takes the risk - The launch company, or the customer?

  • $\begingroup$ It all depends on the contract, there's no law or regulation in that regard. It's unlikely that a launch company would ever sign a contract requiring them to pay the loss. $\endgroup$ – GdD Jan 16 '15 at 11:14

It is common practice to have an insurance which covers the loss in case of a launch failure.

Who pays for the insurance (customer or launch provider) is a contract detail.

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    $\begingroup$ Question on insurance: space.stackexchange.com/questions/6567/… $\endgroup$ – Jerard Puckett Jan 16 '15 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ Is it really? I think that you maybe mean the one who owns the payload, not the one who runs a daily launching operation. Most launch services are either governmental or part of some huge military weapons manufacturing corporation, so it makes no sense for them to insure any launch. There's no point in insuring such a small part of your cash flow. Boeing has a revenue of about $80bn a year (five times that of NASA). It makes no sense for them to insure a rocket which costs only 0.01 of that. $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Jan 17 '15 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I failed to read your answer properly. But certainly it is as a rule the payload customer who pays the insurance, not the launcher. $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Jan 17 '15 at 13:24

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