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GOCE research satellite to crash to Earth on Sunday night or Monday

Washington, Nov 9 : European Space Agency (ESA) has revealed that its GOCE research satellite will crash to Earth on Sunday night or during the day on Monday.


The space agency said that it cannot predict where the debris will hit, but it claims that the small fragments that survive re-entry are unlikely to cause any casualties, CBS News reported.

GOCE -- which stands for Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer -- was launched in 2009 to map the Earth's gravitational field. It ran out of fuel last month, ending the mission.

Since then, the satellite has been spiraling steadily downward.

Scientists said that the 1,100-kilogram (2,425-pound) satellite already has fallen to an altitude of about 105 miles and is coming closer every minute.

Once it reaches an altitude of 50 miles, the satellite will break apart and most of it will burn in the atmosphere.

However, the space agency said that about 20 percent of the spacecraft's original mass could survive and reach the ground.

--ANI (Posted on 09-11-2013)

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