Thursday, March 27, 2008

Space Junk Threatens Privvy

A Russian farmer is suing the country's space agency for compensation after he claimed a 10-foot-long chunk of metal from a space rocket fell into his yard, just missing his outdoor toilet.

Boris Urmatov, who is visually handicapped, lives in the village of Kyrlyk with his sister Marina. The village lies under the flight path of rockets launched from the nearby Baikonur space centre and is, according to locals, frequently the location of near-misses from assorted space junk falling from the sky.

Mr Urmatov, a sheep herder, is suing the agency for 1 million rubles (£21,000) after what he describes as "an enormous metal casing" woke him in the night as it landed adjacent to his home: "It nearly crushed the outhouse," claims his sister.

Mr Urmatov is seeking damages for stress suffered as a result of the incident.

Russian paper Izvestia (News) says that the Mr Urmatov has legal precedence for his claim. In 2001, the Russian space agency Roskosmos paid compensation of 10,000 rubles (£212) to a private individual when a piece of space junk fell on his yard as he was outside chopping wood.

For archive (though not very interesting) film of a Russian satellite taking off, please click here.

Source: Reuters

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