5 Times Falling Space Junk Effed People Up

It’s a bird... It’s a plane... It’s a screw from the International Space Station taking out your garage
5 Times Falling Space Junk Effed People Up

Unfortunately, we’re not in the cool part of the future where “space garbageman” is a job you can have, so if something breaks off a space station or a satellite poops out, it usually just hangs out in orbit until it reenters the atmosphere. It usually burns up in the process, so no harm, no foul. Usually. But when space junk does touch ground, it can cause a lot of harm — and occasionally be super foul.

1969: Five Japanese Sailors Injured By Soviet Spacecraft

1969 was kind of a big year in the space race. Folks were sending all kinds of shit up there, and some of it was bound to come crashing down. That happened in the East Sea, where a Japanese ship was struck by debris from a Soviet spacecraft, injuring five sailors. No, the object didn’t have a little hammer and sickle on it — the Soviets actually showed up looking for it, which was pretty ballsy, considering they were legally on the hook for any damages. Maybe they knew the Japanese would stall on reporting it, “out of a desire to avoid provoking a conflict with Moscow.” Everyone had that desire back then.

2002: A Little Boy Got Conked By a 22-Pound Satellite Accessory

The next time space junk injured someone wasn’t until 2002, when an unexpected change of wind scattered booster parts from a Chinese satellite launch over a nearby village instead of the mountains, as intended. A little boy named Wu Jie became the first person to be directly injured by space junk when he was struck with a 22-pound chunk, miraculously escaping with only minor injuries and a great story for the rest of his life.

2003: Part of the Space Shuttle Columbia Ripped Through a Dentist Office Roof

The next year, the Columbia disaster sent debris flying over hundreds of miles of Texas and Louisiana, including a foot-long metal bracket through the roof of a dentist’s office. What are the odds any nervous teeth owners inside ever went to the dentist again?

2022: Sheep Murder

Things were reasonably quiet on the space junk front until 2022, when debris believed to have originated from a Chinese satellite launch came raining down over a cluster of Indian villages, one ruler-shaped fragment of which fell into one unlucky sheep pen and killed a lamb. A single lamb. It was just like the “fuck this thing in particular” meme come to life.

2024: Part of a Cargo Pallet Crashed Through a Guy’s House

Two years later, a Florida man’s Florida manning was unceremoniously interrupted by a metal cylinder plunging from the sky with enough force to crash right through his roof, which was determined to be part of a cargo pallet of dead batteries released by the International Space Station three years earlier. Yep, they’re just dumping stuff now. Again, it’s supposed to burn up before it takes out any eyes, but just in case, maybe don’t look up.

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