In the early hours of 12 July 1979, Skylab (NASA’s first space station) fell out of orbit and crashed to earth. Although it scattered wreckage in an arc over the Indian Ocean parts of it came to rest at Balladonia in Western Australia. That would be Balladonia, population 14, which is located 900+ km east of Perth (i.e. out in the desert).

I have recently returned from a road trip holiday (I drove to Perth). In my travels, I stayed overnight at the Balladonia Roadhouse and visited the small onsite museum which has some Skylab memorabilia. I had heard stories which I didn’t believe, that the local shire council issued a littering fine to NASA for the mess that their space station created. It turns out those stories are true! It’s my photo of the infringement notice which appears with this post. Apparently it’s also true that US President Carter personally called the Roadhouse and offered to make good any damage caused by the falling Skylab (there wasn’t any).

The infringement notice was personally handed to a NASA representative when they visited Balladonia.  This apparently caused a good natured “diplomatic incident”. The fine was never paid.