The Mir spacecraft was Russia’s pride and joy. It hosted many crew members and international visitors. It witnessed dangerous fires and a near-collision. And it spent 15 years in orbit- 3 times more than planned.
But without external boosting, what goes into low orbit must come down. And so in 2001, the Mir was set to crash into the Pacific ocean.
As the world waited with bated breath, Taco Bell decided to capitalise on all the buzz around the space station.
The fast food chain set up a floating target near the expected landing area- a 144 square metres of vinyl, marked with a bulls eye and the words "Free Taco here" in bold purple letters. They announced that if the core of Mir hit the target, they would give everyone in America a free taco.
If Mir hit the bullseye, the fallout would have cost Taco Bell around $10 million. And though aerospace experts said the odds of that happening were ‘slim to none’ , Taco Bell wasn’t taking any chances. And so, they got insurance to cover the potential cost!
What happened next?
Well, Mir did not hit the target and Taco Bell rolled out a ‘consolation’ offer of two tacos for 99 cents.
Fun Fact: Mir’s path in orbit crossed nearly every city on Earth, and there were some concerns around it crashing into populated areas. And so, Russia got insurance for any physical damage caused by the falling spacecraft.
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