A Chinese rocket that is currently in a failing orbit is likely to at least partially survive re-entry and fall to Earth.
Plus, it’s salvage; so grab it and own it.
Fine, so are they responsible if their junk falls on somebody?Woah there, Billy-O!
There is, unfortunately, a thing called International Space Law which states:
A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object, and over any personnel thereof, while in outer space or on a celestial body. Ownership of objects launched into outer space, including objects landed or constructed on a celestial body, and of their component parts, is not affected by their presence in outer space or on a celestial body or by their return to the Earth. Such objects or component parts found beyond the limits of the State Party to the Treaty on whose registry they are carried shall be returned to that State Party, which shall, upon request, furnish identifying data prior to their return.
In other words, once a space object is launched into outer space, it continues to be registered to the country that launched it, even it returns to earth, much in the same way a federal warship continues to belong to its nation of origin under Maritime Law. This concept applies to space objects owned by non-governmental organisations and governmental organisations alike. The effect of this continued ownership and jurisdiction is the concept of law of finds and pure salvage found in the maritime concept are not applicable to outer space.
The only way a commercial company (or if you are a millionaire, a private individual) can legally salvage anything to do with the space industry, is if they are contracted to do so by the owning body.
Sucks, I know.......
Yes, and it's happened before. In the late 70s, a Soviet satellite (with a nuclear reactor) fell in Canada. The Soviets paid the Canadians over $3M in clean up costs and damages. This occurred while I was in school, Armstrong talked about it in class.Fine, so are they responsible if their junk falls on somebody?