GOCE at 192 km: Update from ESOC

This update sent in from GOCE Operations Manager Christoph Steiger at ESOC this morning.

This morning, GOCE is at an altitude of roughly 192 km, with atmospheric drag levels at an average of 24 mN (milliNewton) and peaks up to 35 mN.

The spacecraft is still fully functional with good attitude control. Our routine spacecraft monitoring and tracking activities are proceeding as planned.

Today, GOCE is expected to drop by about 4 km. The atmospheric drag and the resulting altitude decay rate are going to increase significantly over the coming days, as GOCE gets lower and lower.



  • Eelco Doornbos says:

    Are you still getting good accelerometer data? When do you expect the accelerometers to stop working?

    • Daniel says:

      Hi Eelco,

      We passed this to Christoph Steiger, GOCE SOM, who replied:

      We are still getting good acceleration data from the gradiometer. Following fuel depletion on 21st Oct, the instrument was put in a more coarse measurement mode suitable for measuring in a drag environment (i.e. with no drag compensation at work). We expect to see some saturation on the accelerometers when drag levels go above 80 mN. Peaks in drag will reach that level latest by tomorrow. It is our intention to keep measuring with the gradiometer as long as possible – the data collected may be of much value for atmospheric density studies.

      Kind regards,

  • John Nicholson says:

    What is the deceleration rate per orbit? Period of orbit and change in height? Number of expected orbits left?

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