1.2-Ton Satellite Falls To Its Fiery Doom Over Atlantic Ocean - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

1.2-Ton Satellite Falls To Its Fiery Doom Over Atlantic Ocean

KHQ.COM - The European Space Agency says its 1.2-ton GOCE gravity-mapping satellite plunged through the atmosphere on Sunday and broke up into bits over the South Atlantic Ocean.

In an online update, ESA said that GOCE re-entered Earth's atmosphere around 7:16 p.m. ET Sunday (0016 GMT Monday). The agency said that assessment was made after consultation with the U.S. Strategic Command, which monitors orbital debris.

The satellite hit the atmosphere over a spot due south of the Falkland Islands, around the coordinates of 60 degrees west and 56 degrees south, ESA said. "This would put the main area over which any possible GOCE remnants fell to the southernmost regions of the Atlantic Ocean," ESA's Daniel Scuka said.

About 500 pounds (250 kilograms) worth of debris was expected to have survived the car-sized satellite's re-entry, but no damage or eyewitness sightings of the fiery plunge were immediately reported.

GOCE gave up the ghost last month when its fuel ran out, marking the end of a four-year-long scientific mission. Its orbit gradually decayed over the course of the past few weeks, leading to Sunday's uncontrolled atmospheric re-entry. Previous satellite plunges, such as last year's fall of the 14-ton Russia's Phobos-Grunt probe, have sparked alarms about the potential threat from falling debris — but ESA downplayed the potential threat from GOCE because of its significantly smaller mass.

GOCE is an acronym standing for Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer: The satellite was launched in 2009 to trace Earth's gravitational field in unprecedented detail. In 2011, for example, its sophisticated instruments picked up the infrasound waves generated by Japan's earthquake and tsunami. That led ESA to call GOCE the "first seismometer in orbit."

The $450 million satellite's sleek design, produced by a French-Italian venture called Thales Alenia Space, earned it another nickname: the Ferrari of space. Now that space speedster has finally crashed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Pedestrian lashes out, throws rock at woman in car

    Pedestrian lashes out, throws rock at woman in car

    Friday, July 21 2017 7:59 PM EDT2017-07-21 23:59:38 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman says she had a scary encounter Thursday morning with a man on the sidewalk. She was driving near Regal Street by Ferris High School when he lashed out and ended up throwing a rock at her. "It worries me that somebody is out there that can be that violent," she said. She wants to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation of what he might do. She says she was dropping off her son for a sports camp 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman says she had a scary encounter Thursday morning with a man on the sidewalk. She was driving near Regal Street by Ferris High School when he lashed out and ended up throwing a rock at her. "It worries me that somebody is out there that can be that violent," she said. She wants to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation of what he might do. She says she was dropping off her son for a sports camp 

    >>
  • Biker comes face-to-face with bear on Canfield Mountain trail

    Biker comes face-to-face with bear on Canfield Mountain trail

    Friday, July 21 2017 9:20 PM EDT2017-07-22 01:20:31 GMT

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - With it’s windy trails and scenic vistas. Nestled right above Coeur d’Alene, Canfield Mountain attracts all sorts of people. “It's a great area,” Tony Prka said. Prka is an avid Canfield Mountain bike-rider. He says he was riding like usual Tuesday night when all of a sudden. “I hit my brakes right away and then I was like 'man I think that was a cub' so I got off my bike and I started to run backwards,” he said. Not 

    >>

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - With it’s windy trails and scenic vistas. Nestled right above Coeur d’Alene, Canfield Mountain attracts all sorts of people. “It's a great area,” Tony Prka said. Prka is an avid Canfield Mountain bike-rider. He says he was riding like usual Tuesday night when all of a sudden. “I hit my brakes right away and then I was like 'man I think that was a cub' so I got off my bike and I started to run backwards,” he said. Not 

    >>
  • Latah County murder suspects captured

    Latah County murder suspects captured

    Friday, July 21 2017 11:25 PM EDT2017-07-22 03:25:07 GMT

    MOSCOW, Idaho - The Ferry County Sheriff's Office has confirmed they have recovered the white 2002 Pontiac Grand Am connected to recent homicide in Latah County. The two teenage suspects, Keagan Tennant and Matthew McKetta, have been on the run from law enforcement since the body of Timothy Jacob Reeves was discovered earlier this week.

    >>

    MOSCOW, Idaho - The Ferry County Sheriff's Office has confirmed they have recovered the white 2002 Pontiac Grand Am connected to recent homicide in Latah County. The two teenage suspects, Keagan Tennant and Matthew McKetta, have been on the run from law enforcement since the body of Timothy Jacob Reeves was discovered earlier this week.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st

    Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st

    Friday, July 21 2017 5:38 PM EDT2017-07-21 21:38:23 GMT
    Mad Minute for 12/30/16Mad Minute for 12/30/16

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st.

    >>
  • Federal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism charges

    Federal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism charges

    Friday, July 21 2017 11:50 PM EDT2017-07-22 03:50:00 GMT
    Federal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism chargesFederal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism charges

    HONOLULU (AP) - A federal grand jury in Hawaii has indicted a U.S. soldier for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was indicted Friday after he was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on July 8. Kang was ordered held without bail. Because of the indictment, Kang will no longer have a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Monday. Kang's court-appointed attorney Birney 

    >>

    HONOLULU (AP) - A federal grand jury in Hawaii has indicted a U.S. soldier for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was indicted Friday after he was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on July 8. Kang was ordered held without bail. Because of the indictment, Kang will no longer have a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Monday. Kang's court-appointed attorney Birney 

    >>
  • White House threatens Iran over detained Americans

    White House threatens Iran over detained Americans

    Friday, July 21 2017 9:25 PM EDT2017-07-22 01:25:44 GMT
    Photo: NBCPhoto: NBC

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The White House is threatening "new and serious consequences" for Iran unless it releases all U.S. citizens who are detained there. The White House says President Donald Trump is prepared to act in an attempt to end Iran's practice of using detentions and hostage taking as state policy, but it provides no specifics about potential consequences. Trump is urging the return of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who 

    >>

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The White House is threatening "new and serious consequences" for Iran unless it releases all U.S. citizens who are detained there. The White House says President Donald Trump is prepared to act in an attempt to end Iran's practice of using detentions and hostage taking as state policy, but it provides no specifics about potential consequences. Trump is urging the return of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who 

    >>