Tuesday, February 09, 2016

What happens if you killed by a space debris?



Space debris plot, size exaggerated. Figure credit: NASA.

Recently, Indian authorities speculated that a bus driver killed by a meteorite. Nobody knows, is that a meteorite or space debris for now. If proven, it would be the first meteorite death of a human in recorded history.

If tests show that is a space debris, the Space Liability Convention might be applied. The responsible state may pay compensation. For example, USSR paid C$ 3 million to Canada for nuclear-powered satellite Kosmos 954 (Benkö, M. (1985)). This is quite early to say something, but if that is a space debris, this might be the first example for application of the Space Liability Convention to a death.

Benkö, M. (1985). Space law in the United Nations. Martinus Nijhoff. ISBN 978-90-247-3157-2.

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