Recently, a piece of the 20,000 kg Chinese spacecraft fell uncontrollably in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.
With the advent of private enterprises, the movement of vehicles in space will also increase. Along with this, the process of falling to earth from Earth orbit in the form of space debris from satellites, vehicles and the International Space Station will also increase. Recently, a huge piece of satellite weighing 20,000 kg from China fell uncontrollably into the Indian Ocean near the Maldives. Earlier, in May 2020, another Chinese rocket also went out of control and landed on the West African coast. But is there any compensation for damage caused by such accidents? Are there international laws in the world that are in force and in practice in such incidents? So the answer is yes. Governments of different countries have mutually recognized such laws, which protect us from loss of life and property due to space debris in a country.
What is the “garbage can of space”
In space, any man-made object that moves inactively around Earth’s orbit is called space debris or space debris. According to a study, in January 2020, the space debris present in Earth’s orbit weighed more than 8,000 metric tons. Often after the incidents of their fall on earth, people have only one question: can we prevent them from falling? If they cause a huge loss, who will compensate them? Experts say three important steps need to be taken for this. First, authorized entities must prevent such dangerous situations in advance. Second, a model must be created for compliance and monitoring of rules and protocols. And finally, if such accidents do occur, international organizations must put in place a framework to set out responsibilities.
what if the spaceship fell on the house
There are international treaties, agreements and laws for such accidents, even if a country’s spaceship falls and crashes in your home. Current space laws are in effect under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1972 Liability Convention. The United States has also adopted both agreements. According to this, if the spacecraft is damaged or crashes at the border of another country, it will be a problem between the governments of the two countries. According to the two treaties, this country will be internationally responsible for such accidents and will be responsible for any damage caused to the spacecraft. Even if the damage was caused by a private company in this country.
how does the law work
In accordance with these laws, your country will also not be required to prove that spacecraft debris, damaged fragments caused damage to the Earth’s surface or to any normal aircraft. Not only that, suppose the Chinese spacecraft was destroyed by falling on a house in a remote village in our country, then in this situation, the Indian government will seek compensation from China at the diplomatic level and then pay or compensate for your loss. . If India chooses to make such a claim. However, there is a very low chance that debris from a vehicle will fall into the populated area.
Russia had to pay Rs 18 crore
In 1978, the Russian Soviet satellite Kosmos 954 crashed in an arid area of the Northwest Territories of Canada. After the accident, radioactive debris from the spacecraft’s nuclear reactor spread over much of this area. A joint US-Canadian team removed this radioactive waste, which at the time cost more than Rs 84 crore (C $ 14 million). Canada then claimed 36 crore rupees (C $ 6 million) in compensation from the then Soviet Union. The Soviet Union finally settled the matter by paying 18 crore rupees (3 million Canadian dollars). This is the first and so far the only case where a law and treaty concluded under the Liability Convention has been used when a spacecraft from one country has crashed in another country.
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