Satellite GOCE Falls; All Clear as Orbiting Object Disintegrates

Monday, 11 Nov 2013 12:32 PM

By Michael Mullins

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The falling GOCE satellite that caused some angst among sky watchers last week has disintegrated after reentering the Earth's atmosphere Sunday night causing no damage to individuals or property in the process.

The European satellite known as the Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer or GOCE, descended back to earth while on an "orbit pass that extended across Siberia, the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctica," according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is Here. Are You Prepared?

"As expected, the satellite disintegrated in the high atmosphere and no damage to property has been reported," ESA added in a press release.

Having been launched in 2009, GOCE had for the past four years mapped the Earth's gravitational field.

Since running out of fuel on Oct. 21, the satellite has been gradually descending over the past three weeks, the Associated Press reported.

The ESA would did not say where the GOCE debris fragments hit the Earth's surface, only that approximately 25 percent of the one-ton satellite actually made impact, with the remainder apparently disintegrating upon reentry into the atmosphere.

Scientist had initially predicted the satellite would break apart into approximately 25 to 45 fragments, the largest of which could weigh up to 200 pounds.

"The one-ton GOCE satellite is only a small fraction of the 100–150 ton of man-made space objects that reenter Earth’s atmosphere annually," said Heiner Klinkrad, Head of ESA’s Space Debris Office.

"In the 56 years of spaceflight, some 15,000 ton of man-made space objects have reentered the atmosphere without causing a single human injury to date."

Editor's Note: Do You Support Obamacare? Vote in Urgent National Poll

The $465-million mission gave way to the lowest flying satellite ever to encircle the earth at nearly 140 miles, according to

In order to reduce the potential dangers associated with reentry of space debris, the United Nations adopted guidelines in 2008 requiring future spacecraft to be equipped with thrusters to ensure safer endings.

The GOCE had already been designed when the guidelines were adopted by the UN.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
You May Also Like

'Tip-Bombed' Waitress Gets $1,200 Tip the Week Before Christmas

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 17:08 PM

A Virginia waitress was surprised and overwhelmed by a "tip bomb," a $1,200 tip from a group of people who wished to rem . . .

Kentucky Infant Found Safe After Carjacking, Amber Alert

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 16:09 PM

A 20-day-old infant who was stolen during a Kentucky carjacking was found safe a little more than two hours after the ca . . .

Justin Bieber Instagram Followers Drop by 3.5M in Fake Account Purge

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 15:46 PM

Justin Bieber lost 3.5 million Instagram followers in what's being called the "Instagram Rapture," a move by the social  . . .

Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved