July 21, 2024

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A Florida family is seeking damages from NASA after space debris hit their home

A Florida family is seeking damages from NASA after space debris hit their home

Video explanation, “It almost hit my son” – Space junk crashes through a Florida home

  • author, Rachel Luker
  • Role, BBC News, Washington

A Florida family whose home was struck by space debris earlier this year is seeking compensation from NASA for property damage and mental anguish.

The 1.6-pound (0.7 kg) metal object punched a hole in the roof through two layers of the roof at Alejandro Otero’s home in Naples, last March.

NASA said the object was part of about 5,800 pounds of hardware dropped by the International Space Station after installing new lithium-ion batteries.

Mr. Otero said his son was almost injured in the collision.

A press release from law firm Cranfill Summer lists damages including uninsured property damage loss, business interruption, emotional/mental anguish and third party assistance costs.

Space debris “represents a real serious issue due to the increase in space traffic in recent years,” said lawyer Mika Nguyen Worthy.

“My clients are seeking appropriate compensation to take into account the stress and impact this event has had on their lives,” she said in a statement.

Mr. Otero told CBS affiliate Wink-TV that the device made a “tremendous noise” when it exploded in his home.

“I was shaking, I was in complete disbelief,” Otero said. “What are the odds of something falling on my house that hard to cause all that damage?”

The debris was determined to be part of a bracket used to mount the batteries on a charging platform.

“The devices were expected to completely burn up during entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on March 8, 2024. However, a piece of the devices escaped and crashed into a house in Naples, Florida,” the agency said.

NASA said the International Space Station “will conduct a detailed investigation” into how the debris survived burning.

The agency has six months to respond to Otero’s claims.

Space waste is becoming a growing problem. In April, sky watchers in California spotted mysterious golden streaks moving through space.

US officials later determined that the light display was caused by burning debris from a Chinese rocket that had returned to Earth’s orbit.

In February, a Chinese satellite known as Object K burned up while re-entering the atmosphere over Hawaii.

Last year, a giant metal dome covered in barnacles found on a Western Australian beach was identified as a component of an Indian missile. There are plans to display it alongside parts of NASA’s Skylab, which crashed in Australia in 1979.

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