The Sciences

He must not be a space booster

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitMar 27, 2008 3:00 AM


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A Russian farmer is suing the Russian Space Agency Roskosmos for <Dr. Evil>one million rubles</Dr. Evil> because a rocket booster fell on his farm. The story is a bit weird. If the booster came down and smashed his house, or crushed his outhouse, or flattened his dog, then sure, sue away. But the thing fell in his yard, as the article pointedly says, missing his outhouse (phew!). Sounds to me like he has a goldmine on his hands. Problem is, stuff falls from rockets relatively often in that area, which is along the Russian launch path, so the novelty worth of the booster may not be that high. You can't beat a quotation like this from the Roskosmos spokesman:

Technologically speaking, these parts are supposed to fall off during a launch. They fly, they fall, they fly, they fall. It's how they work.

Well, yeah, boosters and such fall. But the article also mentions things like bolts, engines, and casings? I suspect there may be a translation problem here; he means fall to the ground, not fall off. Still. Yikes. Anyway, given how cash-strapped the Russian agency is, I can't imagine he'll get anything from them. He should put the thing on eBay if he wants to see some money. Maybe he could paint a ghostly face on the side, just to up the value, too.

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