European Space Agency Satellite GOCE Burned up in Earth’s Atmosphere

European Space Agency Satellite Has Crashed Back to Earth

It appears that the European Space Agency satellite GOCE burned up in Earth’s atmosphere early Monday morning. So far it is believed that if any debris survived, it would have fallen anywhere along a pathway through Eastern Asia and the Western Pacific down toward Antarctica.

GOCE was nicknamed the “Space Ferrari” because it had such a sleek look, GOCE was the first European Space Agency mission which made an uncontrolled entry back to Earth in almost 30 years.

The probe which had the job of mapping gravity crashing back down was basically unavoidable once it ran out of all its petrol.

The mission was working in a tremendously low orbit, one of the lowermost of any scientific satellite that has ever flown, and it required to be continually thrust by an electric apparatus in order to keep in the air but in October the very last of its fuel banks were totally drained.

Various computer return demonstrations had thought that possibly some of GOCE might be able to last through the flaming fall because it was so massive. However, that does not appear to be what has happened according to the European Space Agency. But it is certainly possible individuals will come forward with pieces found although no damage has been reported as of yet.

GOCE’s refined gradiometer, which is the apparatus that was used to make the gravity measurements, and combined compound materials which were expected to last through the harsh forces that would normally cremate any outdated modules.

The satellite was last witnessed at 10:42 p.m. Sunday evening as it passed about 75 miles over Antarctica and official entry was clocked at around 1:00 a.m. Monday morning. It was going toward the enormous and desolate waters of the Southern Ocean, which is located to the east of New Zealand.

GOCE’s was put up by the European Space Agency to create maps of the gravity variation and its different pull all around the Earth.

This meant that a huge number of surveillance and tracking facilities all over the world were started in order to keep track of the satellite’s flaming track down to Earth.

It is likely there will be much more information in the coming days on exactly when and where any debris hit the planet’s surface.

Statistics have stated that typically there is about one item of space debris that comes back into the Earth’s atmosphere each day. On average, there is one complete outdated spaceship or old skyrocket body that returns each week.

The European Space Agency frequently has organized re-entries. It has a space station freighter which is an Automated Transfer Vehicle. It sometimes may weigh 13 tons when it returns back down to Earth.

GOCE was sent up back in 2009 as part of a succession of groundbreaking environmental investigation satellites.

The very sensitive gradiometer was used to perceive all the minuscule disparities in the gravity’s pull across the Earth’s surface.

The European Space Agency says GOCE’s maps will have very wide uses. The information is being used as main references in different engineering projects for seeing how heights are measured at extensively divided locations, and for the various computer representations that require data in order to comprehend how the world’s oceans move to estimate upcoming climate changes.

It will definitely be interesting in the next few days to see what the European Space Agency has to say about if any parts of GOCE have been discovered anywhere in the world. If not, the entire satellite was burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

By Kimberly Ruble

BBC News

Sydney Morning Herald

NY Daily News


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