ESA's environmental satellite GOCE was successfully launched on 17 March 2009 using the ROCKOT launch system from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia. The spacecraft with a total mass of 1052 kg was deployed into the intended near sun synchronous orbit (near SSO) very accurately.
GOCE is the first Earth Explorer Core Mission of ESA's Earth Observation Envelope Programme. The spacecraft was designed to produce global and regional models of the Earth's gravity field and the reference equipotential surface (Geoid) with unprecedented high spatial resolution and accuracy. GOCE was built by an European consortium consisting of Thales Alenia Space, Italy, as prime contractor with Astrium GmbH, Germany, supplying the satellite platform.
Gravity is a fundamental physical force that impacts many dynamic processes within the Earth system. ESA's GOCE mission - an acronym of Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer mission - will produce global and regional models of the Earth`s gravity field and the reference equipotential surface (Geoid) with unprecedented high spatial resolution and accuracy. These measurements will be used in a wide range of research and application areas such as global ocean circulation, geophysics and unification of height systems.
The GOCE launch service agreement was the second contract between the European Space Agency and Eurockot Launch Services.
Additionally to standard services Eurockot provides the following features as part of its launch contract:
- Spacecraft attachment with 937mm clamp band;
- Extremely accurate injection and low tip-off rate separation into a near SSO dusk/dawn or dawn/dusk orbit;
- Lowest injection orbit ever.
|GOCE Mission Characterictics|