Eyes to the Sky! GOCE Reentry Possible This Weekend

  • Nov 8, 2013 4:43pm GMT

Update November 10 @ 10:30pm PST

The European Space Agency reported that the GOCE satellite burned up on reentry on Sunday at 7pm EST. No damage to property on the ground has been reported.

Original Story

From CBS

The European Space Agency says its GOCE research satellite will crash to Earth on Sunday night or during the day on Monday. It says it cannot predict where the debris will hit. But it claims the small fragments that survive reentry are unlikely to cause any casualties.

GOCE -- which stands for Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer -- was launched in 2009 to map the Earth's gravitational field. It ran out of fuel last month, ending the mission.

Since then, the satellite has been spiraling steadily downward. Scientists say the 1,100-kilogram (2,425-pound) satellite already has fallen to an altitude of about 105 miles and is coming closer every minute.

Once it reaches an altitude of 50 miles, the satellite will break apart and most of it will burn in the atmosphere.

A website for tracking GOCE can be found here

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