Ocean Circulation Explorer: The Coolest Looking Satellite In Orbit

FILED UNDER: Design, Technology

Just because satellites are out of sight, doesn’t mean they have to look like junk. Don’t we want to make a good impression on our alien visitors? In its latest project, the European Space Agency has applied some of that sleek European styling to make the coolest looking satellite ever….ever. The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has jet-fighter looks and a brain to match, being the most sophisticated piece of equipment thus far to orbit the Earth.

The GOCE is set to blast into orbit on September 10th and will be busy calculating the direction and speeds of our ocean’s currents, as well as measuring our planet’s gravitational fields with its Electrostatic Gravity Gradiometer. It may also be possible for GOCE to determine when a volcano is ready to erupt.

This mean machine is covered in solar panels to power its propulsion unit (electric motor) and will cruise the streets skies in a low 167-mile orbit.

If you’re in Russia on the 10th, head down to the Plesetsk Cosmodrome (800km north of Moscow) for a peek at the action. It will launch at 14:21 UTC.

European Space Agency and AstroEngine


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