Boris Urmatov, a Russian shepherd, is claiming US$42,000 (that's one million roubles) from Roskosmos for dropping a 10-foot-long chunk of rocket in his yard. Apparently it just missed his outdoor toilet— we're hoping he wasn't in there at the time. The poor chap's village in the Altai region lies beneath the flight path of rockets launched from the Cosmodrome at Baikonur, so he may actually have a case. The space agency seems relaxed about it all: according to a spokesman "They fly, they fall, they fly, they fall. It's how they work."
According to the shepherd's sister, he's taking Roskosmos to court for compensation for the stress he's suffered. After all, the metal casing nearly crushed his outhouse. Roskosmos agrees that if it is a genuine case he will be paid "No question about it. We live in a civilized, law-abiding country." Hmmm.
If it is an unwanted, "normal" piece of rocket, sounds like Boris will be rich. The Roskosmos spokesman does hedge his bets a bit, though, noting that sometimes "somebody gets greedy, and it turns out the parts did not fall on his land, but that they were dragged there. Those moments are not good."
If bits of rocket do actually fall off regularly and make it to the ground, then remind me never to go live near Kazakhstan. [Reuters]