Tag Archives: reentry

Concept for ESA's future space debris surveillance system employing ground-based optical, radar and laser technology as well as in-orbit survey instruments. Credit: ESA/Alan Baker, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Tiangong-1 reentry: How ESA found out

Editor’s note: ESA’s Space Debris team have sent in a final update on the reentry of Tiangong-1. As we posted earlier, around once a year, ESA takes part in a joint tracking campaign run by the Inter...

Tiangong-1 Credit: Aerospace Corporation

Splashed down!

The US air force has confirmed the reentry of the Tiangong-1 spacecraft at about 02:16 CEST this morning over the southern Pacific Ocean. The location of the reentry was, by chance, not too far from the so-called...

Tiangong-1 seen at an altitude of about 161 km by the powerful TIRA research radar operated by the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) near Bonn, Germany. Image acquired on the morning of 1 April 2018, during one of the craft's final orbits. Credit: Fraunhofer FHR

Monitoring (almost) complete

With the reentry of Tiangong-1 now forecast to happen within a few hours, ESA's formal role in the tracking campaign is winding down.


ESA reentry expertise

Every week, on average, a substantial, inert satellite drops into our atmosphere and burns up. Monitoring these reentries and warning European civil authorities has become routine work for ESA’s space debris experts. Each year, about 100 tonnes...

Will WT1190F reentry be visible?

A number of questions have come into ESA’s NEO Coord Centre, ESRIN, Italy, concerning the forecast reentry on 13 November of an unknown object designated WT1190F (see: Reentry data will help improve prediction models). The rare reentry...

Main Control Room at ESA's European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany. Credit: ESA/P. Shlyaev

Update on Progress M-27M / 59P

Progress M-27M / 51 reentry risk: In six decades of space flight, no person has ever been hit by any piece of reentering satellite or debris.

Update from ESOC at 21:20 CET

RE-ENTRY FORECAST TIMES CORRECTED at 22:04 CET (1 hr later as expressed in CET – ED.) Via the GOCE mission operation’s team and the ESOC Space Debris Office: Contact was made nominally at 20:50 CET at Antarctica’s Troll station. The temperature of the central computer and battery are around 54ºC. Next visibility is expected again over Troll at 22:16 CET. The new estimation for reentry of GOCE now predicts a time window between 23:30 and 01:30 CET.

GOCE: Getting the most out of a mission

After more than four years mapping Earth’s gravity with unrivalled precision, ESA’s GOCE mission will soon be over: In mid-October, the mission will come to a natural end when it runs out of fuel and the satellite begins its descent towards Earth from a height of about 224 km. The satellite’s final days will be closely monitored by the mission control team at ESOC, ESA’s operations centre, Darmstadt, Germany. Below, Spacecraft Operations Manager Christoph Steiger has provided an update on estimates of the craft’s final fuel run-out date.   GOCE is indeed not far from running out of fuel for its ion propulsion system. We expect to deplete fuel between now and...