Russia is taking out $200 million in insurance on the off chance that portions of the Mir space station will fall onto populated areas when it re-enters Earth’s orbit later this month.
The aging space station is due to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean around March 20. An estimated 1,500 fragments are expected to reach Earth, some at speeds high enough to smash through 6.5 feet of reinforced concrete.
Details of the third-party risk policy are still being finalized according to numerous reports.
An insurance industry official told Reuters news service that three Russian firms would insure the risk. The official named them as Megaruss and Industrial-Insurance Company, with 40 percent of the risk each, and AVIKOS with the remaining 20 percent. The official reportedly said the risk was re-insured, but did not name the reinsurer.
The 15-year-old station is supposed to splash down roughly 1,850 miles east of New Zealand’s southern tip and away from major sea and air routes. Most of the craft is expected to burn up in the atmosphere, but up to 40 tons of debris are expected to reach Earth.
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