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European Satellite to fall to Earth but no one is sure where it will land

By Philaso G. Kaping | Last Updated: Friday, January 17, 2014 - 23:08

Zee Media Bureau\Philaso G Kaping

New Delhi: A European Space Agency’s satellite is set to fall to Earth after a successful mission but the exact crash site of the debris is yet to be determined.

According to a report by a leading international paper, the GOCE satellite (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer) will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and impact sometime in the next few days.

“According to re-entry analysis, about 250 kilos of its one-tonne mass will survive, hitting the surface in a trail of between 40 and 50 fragments extending over 900 kilometres,” mission manager Rune Floberghagen had said earlier in September.

The satellite was launched in March 2009 at an altitude of just 260 kilometres to study Earth’s gravity and ocean circulation. It ran out of fuel last month and has been dropping altitude ever since.

GOCE’s re-entry is uncontrolled as it was designed and built without additional thrusters to enable a targeted re-entry.

First Published: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 11:04
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