European officials said Sunday the 2,200-pound fuel-depleted GOCE satellite was expected to re-enter the atmosphere Sunday evening between 2250 GMT and 0050 GMT (5:50-7:50 p.m. EST), putting the most probable re-entry zones over the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, or over Earth's polar regions.
GOCE will also pass over eastern Russia, northeast China, the Korean peninsula, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and will skirt the western coast of Australia on a north-to-south trajectory in the middle of the re-entry period.
Ground tracking stations' last contact with Europe's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, or GOCE, was as it passed 121 kilometres above Antarctica, Heiner Klinkrad, head of the European Space Agency's space debris office, wrote in a status report posted on the European Space Agency's website.
"By the time you read this, the spacecraft's amazing flight will, most likely, have come to an end," space agency spokesman Daniel Scuka wrote in an update posted around 6:45 p.m.
There was no immediate word on where and when any debris may have landed.