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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Shweta Sharma

India space chief says giant metal dome on Australian beach definitely part of rocket, but not sure if theirs


India’s space agency chief said that the giant metal cylinder that was found washed up at an Australian beach was indeed a part of a rocket but could not confirm if it was from their launch.

The object which was about 2.5m wide and around 3m in height was discovered on the shore by locals at Green Head Beach, north of Pert, over the weekend, who alerted the Western Australia police.

But Indian Space Research Organisation chair S Somnath told BBC there was "no mystery" about the object as it is part of some rocket".

"We can’t confirm it’s ours unless we analyse it," he told the broadcaster.

He said it could be a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV) or part of any other launch but they would be only able to confirm it after seeing and analysing it.

The sudden emergence of the giant object sparked a lot of excitement from the locals as well as media attention. It also sparked speculation that it was linked to the missing Malaysian MH370 flight.

In this image made from video, a cylindrical object is seen on beach in Green Head, Australia
— (AP)

The WA police urged people to stay away from the object as they said they are treating it as “hazardous”.

“We want to reassure the community that we are actively engaged in a collaborative effort with various state and federal agencies to determine the object’s origin and nature,” WA police said.

But aviation and space experts pointed out that the object could be a part of India’s satellite launch to the moon. It was suspected to be the fuel tank of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket. The latest PSLV mission was the PSLV-55 which was successfully launched in April this year.

The Australian Space Agency, which is also part of the investigation, said it was looking into the possibility that it could be a part of a foreign space launch vehicle.

“The agency is working to confirm whether the object could be part of a foreign space launch vehicle that has washed up on shore, and liaising with global counterparts who may be able to provide information about the object,” a spokesperson for the agency said.

Mr Somnath confirmed that “some of the PSLV parts are known to have fallen in the sea beyond Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone”.

He said the object “may have been floating for a long time and finally reached shore”.

There is no danger associated with the debris, he added.

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