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GOCE takes off

Main event in Frascati, near Rome, for the launch of the ESA satellite

ESA is about to launch the most sophisticated of Earth Observation satellites to investigate the Earth’s gravitational field with unprecedented resolution and accuracy.

GOCE data will be crucial for obtaining accurate measurements of ocean circulation and sea-level change, both of which are affected by climate change. The data will help to better understand processes occurring inside the Earth which are linked to volcanoes and earthquakes. The 'Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer' (GOCE) will be placed in a low altitude orbit by a Russian Rockot vehicle. Launch is scheduled to take place at 15:21 CET (14:21 GMT, 17:21 local time) on Monday, 16 March 2009, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia, some 800 km north of Moscow. Rockot is operated by Eurockot Launch Services, a joint venture between EADS Astrium and the Khrunichev Space Centre (Russia).  


The main launch event for GOCE will be held at ESA’s ESRIN establishment in Frascati, Italy. ESA senior management and programme specialists will be on hand there for explanations and interviews. The Press Centre at ESRIN will be open from 10:00 hrs to 19:00 hrs, hosting a media workshop from 10:00 hrs to 14:00 hrs and a launch event from 14:30 hrs to 19:00 hrs.