ESA’s GOCE satellite that re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on a descending orbit pass that extended across Siberia, the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctica, disintegrated in the high atmosphere and no damage to property has been reported
Launched in March 2009, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer – GOCE – has mapped variations in Earth’s gravity with unrivalled precision.
On 21 October, the mission came to a natural end when it ran out of fuel. Over the past three weeks the satellite gradually descended
While most of the 1100 kg satellite disintegrated in the atmosphere, an estimated 25 percent reached Earth’s surface
An international campaign involving the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee and ESA’s Space Debris Office monitored the reentry
Heiner Klinkrad, Head of ESA’s Space Debris Office, said that the one-tonne GOCE satellite is only a small fraction of the 100–150 tonnes of man-made space objects that reenter Earth’s atmosphere annually.