BERLIN -- The European Space Agency said that one of its research satellites that ran out of fuel would most likely crash to Earth into the ocean or polar regions, but as of Sunday night, the European Space Agency is reporting that the satellite has re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated without causing damage.
"The GOCE satellite reentered Earth’s atmosphere on a descending orbit pass that extended across Siberia, the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctica," the ESA reports. "As expected, the satellite disintegrated in the high atmosphere."
The Agency did report that about 25% of the 1100 kg satellite reached the Earth's surface and that the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee and ESA’s Space Debris Office monitored the re-entry process.
ESA said Friday that humans are 250,000 times more likely to win the lottery than to get hit by the debris from a falling space craft.
GOCE was launched in 2009 to map the Earth's gravitational field.
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The ESO 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla observatory in Chile, during observations. (ESO/S. Brunier)