An advance party from ESA has just arrived at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia to arrange logistical matters while the team of engineers will arrive in mid-February.
The five metre-long GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) satellite has been in storage at the launch site since last October. Once the team of ESA and Thales Alenia Space engineers arrive, work will begin preparing the satellite for launch. As prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space has led an all-European consortium of over 40 companies to build the GOCE satellite.
ESA's GOCE Project Manager Danilo Muzi commented that, "The team are really eager to resume the launch campaign and to finish the job interrupted last autumn. The launch in a few weeks time will be the deserved reward for all their efforts."
The data acquired by GOCE will bring about a whole new level of understanding of one of the Earth most fundamental forces of nature. Improved knowledge of the gravity field is one of the most important building blocks for understanding how the Earth works. Mapping the gravity field with unprecedented accuracy, the GOCE mission will realise a broad range of fascinating new possibilities for the fields of oceanography, solid Earth physics, geodesy and sea-level research – significantly contributing to our understanding of climate change.
Mariangela D'Acunto | EurekAlert!
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