Data acquisition and satellite operations will continue for about three more weeks until final switch-off and end of activities.
From 2002 until today six LSE SPACE Engineers have supported the mission either as members of the ESOC-based GOCE Flight Control Team or as a Simulations Officer.
The SSC Ground Station Maintenance&Operations Team operating the ESTRACK ground station in Kiruna has supported GOCE during the whole mission period since launch in 2009.
GOCE is the "smooth" satellite that mapped variations in Earth’s gravity flying in ultra-stable and drag-free conditions and carrying a very sensitive gradiometer, an instrument that can measure gravity in 3D. The GOCE acronym means "Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer".
Thanks to its low fuel consumption, GOCE could continue delivering important scientific data much beyond the planned mission's end. Challenging orbit lowering operations were performed in 2012 to allow GOCE’s measurements more accuracy and resolution.
A Simulations Officer of LSE Space carried on the simulations campaign preceding the orbit lowering manoeuvers in 2012. LSE Space Spacecraft Operations Engineer in charge for satellite's DFAC/AOCS took part in both the orbit lowering and the end-of-mission operations.
Since GOCE's launch and LEOP in 2009, the SSC EKS-Team (Maintenance&Operations) based in Salmijärvi (38 km east of Kiruna, in northern Sweden) has supported the mission operating the ESTRACK Ground Station that assured contact with the spacecraft.
Read more about GOCE last phases on ESA's official website.
Image: ESA. Image top right: ESA.