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Chicken Little report: Another large satellite is about to fall to Earth.
Current estimates suggest this could occur anytime between the end of this month and the start of November. When it does, the one-tonne GOCE will plunge rapidly through the atmosphere, burning up as it descends. “Some satellites take decades to come back after finishing operations; we will re-enter in no more than three weeks,” says Esa mission manager Dr Rune Floberghagen. Modelling work indicates that perhaps up to 25% of the spacecraft may survive all the way to the surface.
The odds of this debris hitting anything significant is very small. It can happen however.