Lottie Williams shows the piece of debris that hit her (Credits: Tulsa World).

US website Aerospace reports the story of Lottie Williams, the only human being who has been hit so far by an orbital debris: “Reportedly, only one individual has been struck by debris from a reentering spacecraft’s. Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma reported that she was struck on the shoulder while walking. The timing and location were consistent with debris from the Delta second stage reentry from which debris was recovered several hundred miles away in Texas. The debris that struck Ms. Williams has not been examined to confirm its origin.”

According to Space.com “The debris was later confirmed to have been part of a fuel tank from a Delta 2 rocket, and other pieces of the booster were recovered several hundred miles away in Texas.”

Lottie Williams with a detail of the debris which hit her on the shoulder (Credits: Lottie Williams).


About the author

Andrea Gini

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Andrea Gini is a content strategy consultant specialized in companies of the space sector. He is founder of Space Safety Magazine, where he held the position of Editor-in-Chief until March 2015. Between 2011 and 2013 he worked in the European Space Agency in the Independent Safety Office, which overviews the utilization of the International Space Station. He previously worked as Software Developer, IT Consultant, and trainer of Java-related technologies. Andrea holds a BSc and an MSc in computer science from the University of Milano, a Master in Communication of Science from the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste and a MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University.

  • Micahel Listner

    The key part to this story is that while the United States government thanked Ms. Williams for bringing the fragment to their attention, they never officially admitted that the piece came from a Delta II. If they had, that could have opened the door to a claim for compensation.