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NASA destroyed a damaged space observatory

This is Levin Compton

NASA's large space observatory, "Compton Gamma-ray Observatory" (CGRO) disintegrated on the night between Saturday and Sunday in the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean.

The observatory, which weighs 17 tons and was placed in orbit around the earth in '91, was destroyed by NASA after one of the three gyroscopes that allowed it to stay in place at an altitude of 511 km, went out of action. The mission of the observatory was supposed to end in '96.

The US authorities made sure that the area where the fragments of the Space Observatory will land - about 30 of them are quite large - will be cleared of sea and air traffic. The fragments landed in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America, about 4,000 km southeast of Hawaii.

NASA used the observatory, which was built with an investment of 760 million dollars, to study the formation of gamma rays that originate from cosmic phenomena that cause the release of huge amounts of energy into space.
In the coming years, NASA and the European Space Agency are supposed to launch additional observatories into space.
{Appeared in Haaretz newspaper, 5/6/2000}

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