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Roscosmos to pay damages to Siberian for rocket debris fall


Proton-M carrier rocket puts an SES Astra 1M satellite into orbit earlier this month. RIA Novosti photo

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, will be doling out compensation worth 100,000 rubles (about $4,000) to Boris Urmatov, a shepherd in the Republic of Altai, in southwest Siberia after a rocket fragment fell on his land.

An announcement to this effect was made by the local administration on Friday last. Earlier, according to Russian agency RIA Novosti, Urmatov had demanded 1 million rubles in compensation for the February 5 incident, when a three-and-a-half-meter (11 ft) fragment from a Proton-M carrier rocket, launched from the Baikonur Space Center, fell near his house.

It may be recalled that in April, two villagers sued Roscosmos after rocket parts fell on their property, which is located outside the designated area for falling debris. Following this, the local authorities had sent a letter to Roscosmos requesting it to take adequate steps to prevent rocket fragments falling on populated areas.

Another incident occurred on March 11, when a small fragment from another Proton rocket landed in a village in the Altai Republic destroying the roof shed.

RIA Novosti said that the Altai Republic has been used as a "falling field" for debris from rockets launched from the Baikonur space center, leased from Kazakhstan, for more than 40 years. According to experts, during this period, about 2.5 metric tonnes of ‘space waste’ has fallen on open areas of the republic. However, local residents complain of diseases as a result of this, though nothing has been officially confirmed.

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