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European Satellite Disintegrates Upon Re-Entry into Earth’s Atmosphere

The satellite that took this picture of Earth in March 2011 is no longer in orbit. Photo from handout provided by the European Space Agency via Getty Images.

BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency says one of its research satellites that had run out of fuel caused no known damage after re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

ESA said the satellite re-entered the atmosphere at about 0000 GMT Monday on a descending orbit pass that extended across Siberia, the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctica.

ESA says “as expected, the satellite disintegrated in the high atmosphere and no damage to property has been reported.

The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, or GOCE, was launched in 2009 to map the Earth’s gravitational field.

ESA says its information is being used to understand ocean circulation, sea level, ice dynamics and the Earth’s interior.

It’s been gradually descending over the last three weeks after running out of fuel October 21, 2013.

 

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