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ISS debris: Who is liable for damage caused by space debris?

ISS debris: Who is liable for damage caused by space debris?

A battery pack from the ISS could hit Earth. Who would actually have to be liable for it? And does insurance pay if other objects from outer space crash into your house or car?

This article first appeared at ntv.de.

Even if, according to experts, the likelihood of a former battery pack from the international space station actually crashing into Germany is considered very unlikely, the idea is still somewhat worrying. Ultimately, the object measures 4 x 2 x 1.5 meters, weighs around 2.6 tons and would therefore be capable of causing some damage.

Regardless, any precautionary measures are difficult to take. You probably don’t have to wear a helmet. Maybe at least the car can be driven into the garage. Otherwise, it remains to be hoped that no parts of the battery block will survive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and reach the planet.

But there’s no harm in thinking about what would happen if your own house or car were hit by the pieces of scrap.

USA must be liable for damage caused by the ISS battery pack

The good news is that the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967 established a liability agreement between states as to who has to settle the damage caused. Accordingly, it is the country that put a satellite into space that would have to pay for the crash. In the current case, the USA would be responsible because the US space agency NASA is responsible for the battery block. The United States would have to stand up straight even if one of its private companies was responsible for the hail of scrap metal. Personal injuries should also be covered in this way.

Let’s assume that in this case damage settlement would actually take place without any problems, and expand the horror scenario to include the question if an abandoned asteroid or even a meteorite fell on theearth should crash.

Since no one has yet conquered space for themselves and therefore has not yet claimed it for themselves, the above-mentioned liability agreement is no longer applicable. Appropriate insurance is then required here.

What if a meteorite hits the house?

If the house is affected, residential building and contents insurance must be used to differentiate between debris and fire damage, as the German Insurance Association (GDV) informs. According to the non-binding model conditions of the GDV, direct damage caused by a meteorite impact to the building or household goods is not covered. However, insurance coverage exists if the impact leads to a fire. This is what the residential building or household contents insurance covers.

If the car is damaged, fully comprehensive insurance is required. Partial comprehensive insurance, on the other hand, only pays for glass breakage damage that would occur, for example, in the event of a pressure wave and also in the event of a vehicle fire caused by a meteorite impact.

Personal injury would also be covered – through accident insurance. Employed people are insured through the employer’s accident insurance, while non-employed people are insured through the health insurance company’s supplementary insurance. According to GDV, an accident occurs when the insured person suffers damage to their health as a result of a sudden external event affecting their body.Read at stern+: The hunt is on. With the new “James Webb” space telescope, researchers have detected an alien planet for the first time. When will they find the first habitable celestial body outside our solar system?

Source: Stern

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