With launch scheduled for December this year, scientists and engineers recently gathered at Alcatel Alenia Space in Turin, Italy, to take a look at the GOCE satellite where the last subsystems are being integrated on the spacecraft platform. The GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) mission is dedicated to measuring the Earth's gravity field and modelling the geoid with unprecedented accuracy and spatial resolution. This will be achieved by employing an Electrostatic Gravity Gradiometer (EGG), which consists of three pairs of identical ultra-sensitive accelerometers mounted on three mutually orthogonal 'gradiometer arms'.
The last pair of accelerometer sensor head flight models have been completed by ONERA and delivered to Alcatel Alenia Space (AAS-F) in Cannes. While the first two pairs have already been integrated and aligned, the last pair completes the gradiometer core and marks an important milestone. In parallel to the completion of the EGG flight model core in Cannes, the Gradiometer Flight Model (FM) electronics and Core Structural Thermal Model (STM) have been mechanically and electrically integrated on the Platform Proto Flight Model (PFM) at Alcatel Alenia Space in Turin. Full text available:
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