NASA hit with $80,000 claim over space debris that crashed into family home

Naples, Florida - A family is claiming more than $80,000 from NASA after a small piece of debris fell from space and smashed through the roof of their Florida home, a law firm said Friday.

NASA is facing a claim of over $80,000 from a Florida family whose home was hit by a small piece of debris from the International Space Station.
NASA is facing a claim of over $80,000 from a Florida family whose home was hit by a small piece of debris from the International Space Station.  © NASA / AFP

The problem of space trash has risen in tandem with increased spatial traffic, and NASA's response could set a precedent for how future claims are handled, law firm Cranfill Sumner said in a statement.

On March 8, the object, weighing only around 1.6 pounds, hit Alejandro Otero's home in Naples, Florida, making a hole in the roof.

NASA later confirmed it was part of a cargo pallet of used batteries that was released from the International Space Station as waste in 2021.

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Instead of fully disintegrating before falling to Earth, a section remained intact when it reentered the atmosphere, the space agency said.

Otero's son was at the house at the moment of impact, according to the law firm, which said that NASA has six months to respond to its claim.

Florida family's lawyer argues space debris accident "could have been catastrophic"

"My clients are seeking adequate compensation to account for the stress and impact that this event had on their lives," said lawyer Mica Nguyen Worthy.

"They are grateful that no one sustained physical injuries from this incident, but a 'near miss' situation such as this could have been catastrophic. There could have been serious injury or a fatality."

NASA did not immediately respond to AFP's request for a comment.

Cover photo: NASA / AFP

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