Due to Space Debris… An American Family Demands $80,000 from NASA

An American family has demanded $80,000 in compensation from NASA for damages caused by a space object that penetrated the roof of their home a few months ago, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

A statement issued by the law firm representing the family on Friday stated that the problem of space debris is increasing with the growth of the space industry, considering that how NASA handles this request will set an important precedent.

The statement noted that this decision will form “the basis upon which the legal landscape in this area will be built.”

In detail, a 700-gram object fell on Alejandro Otero’s home in one of the cities of Florida on March 8, 2024, creating a hole in the roof and the floor.

NASA confirmed after analyzing the object that it originated from an old battery pack on the International Space Station, waste that was disposed of in 2021. The agency had assured that it would return to Earth without causing “any danger.”

However, instead of disintegrating as expected, the piece “remained intact” upon re-entering the atmosphere, according to the agency.

Alejandro Otero was not at home during the impact, but his son was present.

Attorney Mika Nguyen Worthy stated that her clients are “seeking appropriate compensation,” taking into account “the stress and consequences this event has had on their lives.”

She confirmed that they are “happy that no one was hurt, but if the debris had fallen a few meters in another direction, there could have been severe injuries,” or possibly someone could have been killed.

The statement indicated that the amount the family is demanding will also be used to repair the material damages not covered by any insurance.

The request was submitted under a provision that allows the government to be reviewed in cases of negligence.

If the problem cannot be resolved this way, a lawsuit can be filed.

The attorney pointed out that the U.S. authorities “would be obligated under an international treaty to compensate for these damages if the object had fallen on a home outside the United States,” urging NASA “not to apply a different rule to American citizens or residents.”

NASA has six months to respond to the request, according to the attorney.

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