Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

GOCE gravity mission fully operational again

Date:
September 30, 2010
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
Following recovery from a glitch that prevented ESA’s GOCE gravity mission from sending any scientific data to the ground, the satellite has been gently brought back down to its operational altitude and resumed normal service – delivering the most detailed gravity data to date.

GOCE orbit is so low that it experiences drag from the outer edges of Earth's atmosphere. The satellite's streamline structure and use of electric propulsion system counteract atmospheric drag to ensure that the data are of true gravity.
Credit: ESA - AOES Medialab

Following recovery from a glitch that prevented ESA's GOCE gravity mission from sending any scientific data to the ground, the satellite has been gently brought back down to its operational altitude and resumed normal service -- delivering the most detailed gravity data to date.

Data from GOCE will result in a unique model of the 'geoid', which is the surface of an ideal global ocean at rest. It is a crucial reference for accurately measuring ocean circulation, sea-level change and ice dynamics -- all affected by climate change.

Volker Liebig, Director of ESA's Earth Observation Programmes, said," I am very happy that the scientific measurements now continue and we can profit from the current low solar activity and measure the best-ever geoid."

To observe the strongest gravity signal possible, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Explorer (GOCE) orbits at an exceptionally low altitude: just 255 km above Earth, skimming the fringes of our atmosphere. However, when the telemetry problem was discovered in July, operators raised GOCE's orbit to 263 km while experts set about fixing it.

The reason for this was to safeguard the sophisticated xenon ion engines, which gently compensate for atmospheric drag in the satellite's normal low orbit. The thrusters help to keep the satellite stable in 'free fall' to prevent any buffeting from the residual air at this low altitude, which could drown out the gravity data.

The telemetry problem was resolved earlier this month and operators have spent the last three weeks gently bringing GOCE back down to the very precise altitude of 254.9 km -- within 10 m!

Now back in the correct orbit with all systems fully functional, GOCE is back to its job of mapping Earth's gravity with unprecedented accuracy and resolution.

ESA's GOCE Mission Manager, Rune Floberghagen said, "After working hard to resolve the problem we experienced with the telemetry transmission, it certainly feels good to have the satellite back doing its job of measuring of the gravity field."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "GOCE gravity mission fully operational again." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100930085830.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2010, September 30). GOCE gravity mission fully operational again. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100930085830.htm
European Space Agency. "GOCE gravity mission fully operational again." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100930085830.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Newsy (Sep. 25, 2014) Scientists have discovered traces of water in the atmosphere of a distant, Neptune-sized planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: US-Russian Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

Raw: US-Russian Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) A U.S.-Russian space crew has blasted off successfully for the International Space Station. The Russian Soyuz-TMA14M spacecraft lifted off from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins