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New catch: The part of a satellite launch vehicle which was caught in the nets of fishermen at Puducherry. 

Casing of a strap-on motor of PSLV gets caught in fishing nets, creates a sensation on shore

Some fishermen of Puducherry were delighted to feel the weight in their nets as they towed their catch home, figuring it might be a whale. However, after they hauled it ashore, they discovered to their shock, that their nets had been shredded, not by any fish, but by a long, rocket-like object with some markings on it.

As news spread of a rocket, battered by the waves, and a little rusty, being brought ashore, crowds, especially from nearby hamlets, began thronging the place. Children played with the object and people came to take pictures, videos and selfies.

The equipment, it turned out, was the casing of one of the strap-on motors of India’s trusted workhorse satellite vehicle, the PSLV. ‘PSOM XL 1’ was marked on top of the casing, while the bottom part on the strap-on motors was dated “22/03/19”.

“This is just the casing of the strap-on motors…inside that will be the solid motor portion which would be completely burnt out,” former ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar told. Mr. Kumar said the date marked on the casing was the date of the final assembly.

The strap-on motors provide additional thrust to the rocket at launch and are the first to be separated after the rocket lifts off from the launch pad, following which the first and second stages separate in sequence. “These stages fall into the ocean after separation. It is very rare for them to wash ashore,” Mr. Kumar said. Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan said the strap-on motors generally fall not too far from the shore.

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