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The Hindu
The Hindu
Jacob Koshy

ISRO to send team to investigate objects that fell from sky in Maharashtra

The India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will send a team of its experts to Pawanpur village, in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra to investigate what is believed to be remnants of a disintegrated Chinese rocket.

“Inputs from several sources are received on the mysterious flashing light seen in the sky during evening hours on April 3...It is reported that a metal ring and a cylinder-like object was found in an open field in Pawanpur village. As requested by the district administration, a team of scientists form ISRO is visiting Pawanpur for inspection and further scientific enquiry,” read a post from ISRO’s Facebook page.

The Hindu reached out to senior officials from the organisation for comment but did not receive any.

Social media was abuzz on Sunday with videos of a flaming meteor-like object that was sighted from terraces of people in Maharashtra. Space debris or remnants of satellites, rockets and other objects in space crashing into earth are a common occurrence but it is relatively rare for such objects to fall onto land.

Reports from facilities that track the path of such objects suggested that it was a re-entry of a Chinese rocket stage, the third stage of the Chang Zheng 3B serial number Y77 which was launched in Feb 2021. There has, however, neither been confirmation from Chinese authorities nor Indian officials on the provenance of these space objects.

The growing number of satellites and space launches means space, in the vicinity of earth, is crowded with space objects. While there are international initiatives to track such debris, the ISRO has a Directorate of Space Situational Awareness and Management (DSSAM) which has been established at ISRO, in Bengaluru. One of its mandates is to track the trajectory of space objects. NEtwork for space object TRacking and Analysis (NETRA) project, ISRO has said, is initiated as a first step towards meeting this goal, its main elements being a radar, an optical telescope facility, and a control centre.

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