European satellite fixed, back at work

PARIS, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A European scientific satellite that had lost touch with its controllers has been fixed and is transmitting data again, European Space Agency officials said.

The recovery in the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer satellite came earlier than expected after round-the-clock efforts by a team of experts, an ESA release said Tuesday.


The GOCE satellite, designed to map variations in Earth's gravity field with extreme detail and accuracy, malfunctioned July 8 and stopped sending its flow of scientific data to the ground.

The problem was quickly narrowed to a communication link between the spacecraft's scientific instruments and the telemetry modules responsible for transmitting data to Earth.

Software patches gave engineers access to troubleshooting information in the slow trickle of data that was still reaching GOCE ground stations.

As part of the recovery, the temperature of the computer compartment was raised by about 12 degrees F, resulting in the resumption of communications.

"We are very glad that one of the most innovative missions of ESA is back on track," Volker Liebig, director of ESA's Earth Observation Program, said.

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