At Last: Successful Launch for European Climate Satellite

Article written: 17 Mar , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015


Europe’s Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) is headed into orbit, after a successful launch at 10:21 a.m. EDT (14:21 GMT) on Tuesday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. 

The successful liftoff came after delays stretching back to last September, but Tuesday’s launch went off without any complications.

“It was a nice liftoff,” said Mission Scientist Mark Drinkwater.

Monday’s launch failed to progress when the doors of the launch service tower simply did not open. That after a previous failure last September, when problems cropped up with the guidance and navigation subsystems on the Russian Breeze KM rocket. 

GOCE is the first of a new family of ESA satellites, called Earth Explorers, designed to study our planet and its environment in order to improve our knowledge and understanding of Earth-system processes and their evolution, to characterize the challenges of global climate change. Its specific mission is to map Earth’s gravity field with unprecedented accuracy, providing insight into ocean circulation, sea-level change, climate change, volcanism and earthquakes.

Source: ESA

7 Responses

  1. Vanamonde says

    Nice design. Is it suppose to be somewhat aerodynamic for some reason? How long does this orbit go?

  2. Vanamonde says

    “It’s arrow shape and fins help keep the satellite stable as it flies through the wisps of air still present at an altitude of 260km. The low orbit and high accuracy will improve the known accuracy of the geoid and spatial resolution.”

    I will check Wikipedia before I post.
    I will check Wikipedia before I post.
    I will check Wikipedia before I post.
    I will check Wikipedia before I post.
    I will check Wikipedia before I post.
    I will check Wikipedia before I post.
    I will check Wikipedia before I post.
    I will check Wikipedia before I post.


    Hey, the launch booster was once a SS-19 ICBM with a nuclear warhead aimed at the U.S. Way cool – talk about beating a sword into a ploughshare!

  3. Sci-Fi Si says

    GOCE has got to be the coolest looking satellite ever made.

    I think it has to be this streamline because its orbiting at a really low altitude, every external surface is a solar cell used to power its ion drive.

    Anyone with more stats on this?

  4. star-grazer says

    Beautiful. I wish the entire fleet of SS-18 ICBM nickedname ‘Satan’ carrying 10x550kt or 1- 24mt warhead are beaten into ploughshares-placing solar fins on a former SS18 missile will be a great sight and a sigh
    of relief…

  5. Mike says

    Surely the last thing they wanted was a premature launch! Researches are human being too!

  6. Mr Bill says

    I still think it looks like a polished Buck Rogers spaceship.

  7. Damian says

    If we took every ICBM in the world today, stuck a satellite on top, used the Nuclear warhead as a (one of) means of propelling the satellite…….

    We could have a expanding bubble of satellites radiating outwards from earth throughout our solar system.

    Just imagine how much could we learn from that?

    Much more then a nuclear holocaust on earth I bet you.

    In the meantime, GO GOCE. Sexy, and useful.


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