17 Mar 2009
This afternoon, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) was lofted into a near-sunsynchronous, low Earth orbit by a Rocket launcher lifting off from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia.
With this launch, a new chapter in the history of Earth observation in Europe has begun. GOCE is the first of a new family of ESA satellites designed to study our planet and its environment. This is with the aim of enhancing our knowledge and understanding of Earth-system processes and their evolution to enable us to address the challenges of global climate change. In particular, GOCE will measure the minute differences in the Earth’s gravity field around the globe.
SSF’s customer in the GOCE project has been EADS Astrium. In this project, SSF was responsible for the implementation of the GOCE platform application software, which controls all the functions of the satellite and handles the communication between the ground station and the platform.