Lloyd's specie underwriters have joined forces with commercial space services provider Spacehab to pursue claims from NASA.

Spacehab has demanded NASA reimburse it and the London underwriters for the loss of its research double module in the STS-107 space shuttle Columbia accident.

Spacehab received a $17.7m (£9.7m) pay-out from its commercial insurers following the loss.

A lawsuit was launched by the London underwriters against Spacehab when it was revealed that NASA had not paid out its share of compensation, and it had failed to protect its insurers' right of subrogation.

The underwriters have now agreed to drop the lawsuit in return for its limited liability pay-out of $500,000, it said.

Spacehab said it would pursue the $79.7m (£44.5m) claim through the US Federal District Court if NASA failed to respond to a tort claim filed in November.