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Siberian shepherd seeks $40,000 over rocket fragment fall

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A shepherd in Russia's southwestern Siberian Altai Republic is to seek over $40,000 in damages from the Russian space agency Roscosmos over a fragment of rocket that fell into his yard on February 5.
NOVOSIBIRSK, February 29 (RIA Novosti) - A shepherd in Russia's southwestern Siberian Altai Republic is to seek over $40,000 in damages from the Russian space agency Roscosmos over a fragment of rocket that fell into his yard on February 5.

"Boris Urmatov [the shepherd] is preparing to file a lawsuit demanding compensation to the sum of about 1 million rubles [over $40,000]," a local administration official told RIA Novosti.

The incident occurred after the launch of a Proton-M carrier rocket from the Baikonur space center leased by Russia in nearby Kazakhstan.

The three-and-a-half-meter (11 foot) long fragment of rocket fell several meters from his door, badly frightening him and his children. Although the shepherd was not physically harmed, he is seeking moral damages.

The official said the local administration would back him up because the fragment fell outside the designated area for rocket debris. Several years ago, another resident sought damages from Roscosmos in similar circumstances. A court awarded him some $400 in compensation.

No toxic traces have been found in the area where the rocket fragment fell. An emergency services official in Moscow said the fragment would be removed from the area on March 15.

The Altai Republic has been used as a "cemetery" for the fallen fragments of carrier rockets launched from the Baikonur space center for more than 40 years. Experts estimate about 2.5 metric tons of "space waste" have fallen in unpopulated areas of the republic during this period.

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