Space Debris Damages Home: Family Seeks Compensation from NASA

Written by Kathrine Frich

Jun.24 - 2024 11:31 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
A family from Naples, Florida, has recently filed a claim demanding $80,000 from NASA.

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As the space sector expands rapidly, concerns over satellite-related debris or objects falling to Earth are becoming more pronounced.

According to 20minutes a family from Naples, Florida, has recently filed a claim demanding $80,000 from NASA after their home was severely damaged by a space object that pierced through the roof on March 8th.

"I was shaking. I was completely incredulous. What are the chances something would land on my house with such force and cause so much damage," Alejandro Otero told WinkNews (CBS).

Otero was on vacation at the time of the incident, but his son was inside the house and fortunately escaped injury, though he remains deeply shaken.

NASA Confirms Origin of Space Debris

Following analysis, NASA confirmed that the 700g object originated from a load of old batteries aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

These were debris released in 2021, with assurances from the US space agency that they would re-enter Earth's atmosphere "safely."

However, instead of disintegrating as expected, a piece "survived" re-entry, according to NASA.

Legal Ramifications and Future Precedents

"This case seeks appropriate compensation to account for the stress and impact this event has had on their lives," stated attorney Mica Nguyen Worthy

"While they are grateful no one was injured, if the debris had fallen just a few feet in another direction, serious injury or death could have occurred."

The request was filed under a provision allowing recourse to the government for negligence. If unresolved through this avenue, legal action may follow.

Worthy argues that if the object had fallen on a home abroad, "the United States would absolutely be obligated to pay for such damages" under international treaty.