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  1. #1
    ENT
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    GOCE satellite will crash into Earth

    A little late in the day, but here's a little info on the GOCE satelite as it comes down.

    Click onto this site to watch it's progress in real time.

    SATVIEW - GOCE (09013A) - Tracking satellites in Real time

    IF YOU'RE walking around outside during the next day or two, you might want to watch your head.

    Fragments from a one-tonne European science satellite are set to crash into Earth, as the probe has completed its fact-finding mission.

    The Gravity Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite was sent into space in March 2009 on a mission to monitor variations in gravity and sea levels.

    But on October 21 this year the sleek-finned craft ran out of fuel, leaving it without power to maintain its altitude in low orbit.

    The GOCE has been freefalling from an altitude of around 160km, according to the European Space Agency.

    The ESA estimates the re-entry window to be around 12.50pm today, but it continues to drift across the globe so exactly when and where it will hit no one can be sure.

    The ESA real-time tracker says its altitude is steadily dropping as it currently drifts over South America and towards the Atlantic Ocean.


    The satellite is now;

    Lat 77.70 South, Long 35.84 W and Altitude of 130.08 km Speed = 28182.2 km/hr @ 16.02 pm NZ time (now, aprox)
    Last edited by ENT; 11-11-2013 at 10:02 AM.

  2. #2
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    Moving fast, dropping fast, but altitude increases as it travels over Antarctica, at 130.64 k. now

  3. #3
    ENT
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    Alt 132 k, speed dropping, 28176.9 k/hr aprox. as it moves north over the S Pacific.

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    At Lat 8.3 S Long.=115 W speed is 28156.31 k/h and Altitude = 137.5 k. aprox.

  5. #5
    ENT
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    That's all above in about half an hour of travel from just south of Ceylon, down to Antarctica and up to the equator.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ENT View Post
    That's all above in about half an hour of travel from just south of Ceylon, down to Antarctica and up to the equator.
    That island slightly east of Africa is called Madagascar..

  7. #7
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    That's right.

  8. #8
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    It's speed reducing as it travels can't be as a result of it travelling through denser air, at 135 or so kilometres altitude there's no air to travel through.

    Supposedly the satellite has run out of fuel, so I wonder what's slowing it down if some motive force such as retro rockets aren't being used.

  9. #9
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    142.44 k over Alaska now

  10. #10
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    It burned up in the atmosphere about 3 hours ago according to cnn.

    (CNN) -- A 2,000-pound European satellite burned up as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere early Monday, controllers reported.
    Re-entry was made close to 1 a.m. Monday (7 p.m. ET), the European Space Agency said.
    "As expected, the satellite disintegrated in the high atmosphere and no damage to property has been reported," the space agency said.
    The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer -- a European Space Agency satellite known shorthand as GOCE -- crossed over Siberia, the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctica upon its re-entry.
    The 5-meter (16-foot) satellite was launched in 2009 to map variations in the Earth's gravity in 3-D, provide ocean circulation patterns and make other measurements.
    Powered by solar panels and not-your-average lithium-ion battery, it lasted more than three times its expected lifespan before running out of juice on October 21.
    In March 2011, the ESA added another role -- as the "first seismometer in orbit" -- when GOCE detected sound waves from the massive earthquake that struck Japan.

  11. #11
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    Where did it burn up then?

  12. #12
    ENT
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    Thanks for that AO.
    Interesting, as the real time progress given in that SATVIEW link still shows it flying over the Pacific, but with no tracking marked and time on the SATVIEW is 3 hours behind local time, so yes, going by the track mark having disappeared it looks like the craft fizzled out a while back. The little satellite icon is still busy on it's way and the camera still showing pics of the ocean floor,....strange and interesting.


    Latest from BBC. about 10 mins ago

    The European Space Agency's (Esa) Goce satellite has re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, burning up in the process.

    Early estimates suggested any surviving debris could have fallen somewhere along a path through East Asia and the Western Pacific to Antarctica.

    Dubbed the "Ferrari of space" because of its sleek looks, Goce is the first Esa mission to make an uncontrolled re-entry in more than 25 years.

    The gravity mapping probe's plunge was inevitable once it ran out of fuel.

    The mission was operating in an extremely low orbit - at 224km altitude, the lowest of any scientific satellite - and needed to constantly thrust an electric engine to stay aloft, but last month its fuel reserves were exhausted.

    Pre-return modelling had indicated that perhaps a fifth to a quarter of Goce's one-tonne mass could have endured the fiery fall through the atmosphere.

    Its sophisticated gradiometer - the instrument used to make gravity measurements - incorporated composite materials that were expected to ride out the destructive forces that would ordinarily incinerate traditional components.

    Tracking project
    Goce was last observed at 22:42 GMT on Sunday as it passed 121km (75 miles) above Antarctica,

    It has fuel and thrusters to direct its destructive dive towards the vast and uninhabited waters of the Southern Ocean, east of New Zealand.

    The Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee - the global forum on "space junk" - chose Goce as its special study project for 2013.

    Goce geoid (Esa)
    Goce's principal objective was to make maps of the variation in the pull of gravity across the Earth
    This meant a large number of tracking and surveillance facilities around the world were activated to monitor the satellite's descent to Earth.

    More detailed information is therefore likely to emerge in the coming hours and days on exactly where and when any materials struck the surface of the planet.
    BBC News - European Space Agency's Goce satellite falls to Earth

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ENT View Post
    Early estimates suggested any surviving debris could have fallen somewhere along a path through East Asia
    I'll have a look in my garden when I get home.

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    Satview still shows it up and the speed is dropping more rapidly now. I thought Satview was real time but I guess it is just a simulation if the news services are reporting it burned up. That kinda sucks.....

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    Thanks for the report.

    Quote Originally Posted by ENT
    It's speed reducing as it travels can't be as a result of it travelling through denser air, at 135 or so kilometres altitude there's no air to travel through.
    There is air at that altitude. Not much but at a speed of 8km per second every molecule counts. The ISS was moved up from ~300km to ~400km to reduce airdrag but even at that altitude it needs periodic lifting to counter drag or it would come down eventually. Due to that everything in Orbit below 1000 km comes down eventually. I am not sure, at which altitude that ends. Orbits of geostationary com sats at 36.000 km are fairly stable.

    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer
    Satview still shows it up and the speed is dropping more rapidly now. I thought Satview was real time but I guess it is just a simulation if the news services are reporting it burned up. That kinda sucks.....
    There is no satellite tracking 24/7. Even for important missions. They check regularly and update the projections.
    "don't attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence"

  16. #16
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    NO accurate reports yet of where and when all debris from GOCE will land, but the area of ocean 4,000 k east of NZ is called space junk graveyard, where a helluva lot of dead satellites end up.

    Considering that NZ is only roughly 2,000k long, you can imagine how close to NZ that stuff is landing,....spooky!

    At 9.05 am Monday morning NZ time, a great THUMP was felt here near Dunedin (east coast NZ) and didn't show up on the EQ shake maps.

    Maybe a piece of space junk hit the ground? Dunno.

    I've asked around, nobody else has felt it so far, but I definitely felt the desk and building shake, just a thump, no prolonged shake, a kinda BUMP.

    Ah well, another mystery, eh?
    Last edited by ENT; 12-11-2013 at 05:12 AM.

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    Go and have a look for it, be worth a few quid on ebay.

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    It burned near the Falklands.


  20. #20
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    Spectacular shot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ENT View Post
    NO accurate reports yet of where and when all debris from GOCE will land, but the area of ocean 4,000 k east of NZ is called space junk graveyard, where a helluva lot of dead satellites end up.

    Considering that NZ is only roughly 2,000k long, you can imagine how close to NZ that stuff is landing,....spooky!

    At 9.05 am Monday morning NZ time, a great THUMP was felt here near Dunedin (east coast NZ) and didn't show up on the EQ shake maps.

    Maybe a piece of space junk hit the ground? Dunno.

    I've asked around, nobody else has felt it so far, but I definitely felt the desk and building shake, just a thump, no prolonged shake, a kinda BUMP.

    Ah well, another mystery, eh?
    Space lizards

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    Why does New Zealand attract these random floating bits of space debris.?

  23. #23
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    Largely because the Southern Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean are the largest areas of water for a relatively safe splash down.

    The area a few thousand kilometres east of NZ has been used as a space junk target point for a long time.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wasabi View Post
    Why does New Zealand attract these random floating bits of space debris.?
    Magnetism.

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