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NASA sued by Florida man whose home was hit by house junk

The International Space Station.
The International Space Station orbiting about 250 miles above Earth. NASA

NASA is being sued by a person whose home was broken by a chunk of house junk that got here from the International Space Station (ISS).

The incident occurred in March and concerned a 1.6-pound steel alloy object 4 inches in top and 1.6 inches in diameter. NASA confirmed in April that it had come from a 5,800-pound pallet of house junk containing growing older nickel hydride batteries that was launched from the station in 2021.

ISS {hardware} dumps like this one would ordinarily have burned up in Earth’s environment, however on this event it didn’t occur. Instead, a piece of the particles survived reentry and crashed by way of the roof of a home belonging to Alejandro Otero in Naples, Florida. Otero’s son was at house on the time of the incident however escaped damage.

In a statement from the legislation agency representing the Otero household, companion Mica Nguyen Worthy revealed {that a} declare had been submitted to NASA to get better her purchasers’ damages ensuing from the incident.

“My clients are seeking adequate compensation to account for the stress and impact that this event had on their lives,” Worthy mentioned. “They are grateful that no one sustained physical injuries from this incident, but a ‘near miss’ situation such as this could have been catastrophic. If the debris had hit a few feet in another direction, there could have been serious injury or a fatality.”

Worthy famous that if such an incident happens outdoors of the U.S., NASA can be held liable for injury underneath the Space Liability Convention, a treaty established within the Seventies. But the legislation is just not so clear if it occurs inside U.S. borders.

“We have asked NASA not to apply a different standard towards U.S. citizens or residents, but instead to take care of the Oteros and make them whole,” Worthy mentioned. “Here, the U.S. government, through NASA, has an opportunity to set the standard or ‘set a precedent’ as to what responsible, safe, and sustainable space operations ought to look like. If NASA were to take the position that the Oteros’ claims should be paid in full, it would send a strong signal to both other governments and private industries that such victims should be compensated regardless of fault.”

NASA has six months to answer the declare.

The house company mentioned in April that it “remains committed to responsibly operating in low-Earth orbit, and mitigating as much risk as possible to protect people on Earth when space hardware must be released.”

Otero, talking shortly after the article punctured a gap within the roof of his house, mentioned: “I was shaking. I was completely in disbelief. What are the chances of something landing on my house with such force to cause so much damage,” including that he was “super grateful that nobody got hurt.”

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