GOCE is dedicated to measuring Earth's gravity field and
modelling the geoid with unprecedented accuracy and spatial
resolution. Data from this advanced gravity mission will improve
our knowledge of ocean circulation, which plays a crucial role in
energy exchanges around the globe, sea-level change and
Earth-interior processes. GOCE will also help to make significant
advances in geodesy and surveying.
Launched: 17 March 2009
Duration: Nominal mission until April 2011, extended mission until
end of 2012
- to determine gravity-field anomalies with an accuracy of 1 mGal
(where 1mGal = 10–5 ms–2).
- to determine the geoid with an accuracy of 1-2 cm.
- to achieve the above at a spatial resolution better than 100
Orbit: Sun-synchronous, near-circular, dusk-dawn, low-Earth.
Measurement altitude: 254.9 km
GOCE is a slim, octagonal spacecraft approximately 5 m long and 1 m
in diameter. It is a rigid structure with no moving parts weighing
about 1050 kg.
- gradiometer; 3 pairs of 3-axis, servo-controlled, capacitive
accelerometers (each pair separated by a distance of about 0.5
- 12-channel dual-frequency GPS receiver with geodetic quality.
- laser retroreflector enables tracking by ground-based lasers.
Rockot (converted SS-19), from Plesetsk, Russia.
Monitored and controlled by ESA-ESOC via the Kiruna ground station
in Sweden and secondary ground station in Svalbard,
- level-1b products generated by the Payload Data Ground Segment
(PDGS) at ESA-ESRIN.
- level-2 products (including gravity-field models and precise GOCE
orbits) generated by the High-level Processing Facility (HPF) - a
European consortium of ten scientific institutes.
The Industrial Core Team comprises:
Thales Alenia Space (Italy) - satellite prime contractor
EADS Astrium GmbH (Germany) - platform contractor
Thales Alenia Space (France) - gradiometer
ONERA (France) accelerometer & system support
The Core Team leads a consortium of 41 companies distributed
over 13 European countries.