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GOCE satellite reenters; no damage reported
Posted: Mon, Nov 11, 2013, 6:55 AM ET (1155 GMT)
GOCE illustration (ESA) An ESA satellite whose orbit had been decaying for several weeks reentered Sunday night, with no signs of damage from falling debris. The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, or GOCE, satellite reentered around 7:00 pm EST Sunday (0000 GMT Monday) during an segment of its orbit that primarily took it over parts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as Antarctica. Officials did not provide a more precise reentry time, but noted there was no reports of any damage caused by debris from the spacecraft, or eyewitness accounts of its reentry. The one-ton satellite, launched in 2009 to study the Earth's gravity field, maintained a low orbit through the use of ion thrusters. GOCE exhausted its supply of xenon propellant for those thrusters last month, causing the spacecraft's orbit to decay.
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