In the late hours of 2 April 2022, locals in two Maharashtra villages spotted mysterious objects in the fields that resembled a cylinder and a large metal ring. Officials soon surmised that the objects must have fallen from the sky as they had not been there before.
Multiple social media users had also reported seeing unidentified burning objects falling from the sky in parts of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, raising wild speculations of a meteor shower. But more plausibly, this was debris falling from rocket boosters.
Rocket launches are becoming increasingly frequent, with more than a 100 taking place each year worldwide. So, what happens when debris from these launches falls back into the biosphere?
Well, thankfully damage to property due to falling objects is covered under Fire and Allied Perils Insurance. Under this policy’s Impact Damage cover, any loss to assets like building, machinery, etc. due to a collision with an aircraft or a falling object can be covered.
Moreover, rocket launches are usually insured under a Space and Satellite Insurance policy, which, among other risks, covers injury or damage to third-parties.
According to an ISRO official, the timing of the objects’ arrival in Maharashtra was the ‘closest match’ to the re-entry times for debris from a Chinese rocket launched last year in February. Other experts have also spoken in support of this theory.
In this case, as per the Liability Convention of The Outer Space Treaty, the launching state can be held liable for damage caused due to debris from its rockets and a claim can be made.