Agency claims 1 tonne satellite will miss Europe

Agency claims 1 tonne satellite will miss Europe

A research satellite which was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA), and has run out of fuel, is most likely to crash to Earth into the ocean or polar regions, the ESA said today.

The crash is expected to occur between 1830 GMT today and 0030 GMT tomorrow and “with a very high probability, a re-entry over Europe can be excluded.”

Spokeswoman Jocelyne Landeau said the satellite GOCE, which weights just over a tonne, will mostly disintegrate as it comes down and “we will have only a few pieces which could be 90 kilograms at the most”.

ESA said that humans are 250,000 times more likely to win the lottery than to get hit by the debris.

GOCE was launched in 2009 to map the Earth’s gravitational field.

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