ESA’s GOCE satellite is on its way back to Earth. Where and when is somewhat speculative however it was said to be “pretty much in the orbital position it was predicted to be”. There are parts of the satellite that are expected to survive re-entry it will be interesting to see how much lead time there ends up being.
The ESA Rocket Science Blog this morning is putting GOCE at about 160 km and it is showing a significant temperature increase in areas of the spacecraft indicating it is interfacing with an increasingly dense atmosphere.
GOCE is expected to fall by another 13 km today with final re-entry in less than two days.
UPDATE: The Sunday Morning Update from ESA has GOCE at about 147 km and dropping 1 km/hr and increasing. The atmospheric drag level is high and increasing.
The end is close.
RE-ENTRY PREDICTION (by ESA Space Debris Coordination Committee): between 18:30 UTC – 24:00 UTC, Sunday, 10 November (19:30 CET – 01:00 CET, Sunday to Monday, 10/11 November); the most probable impact ground swath largely runs over ocean and polar regions.