CHRIS BUTLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRIS BUTLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Satellite re-entry. Artwork of the re-entry of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO) satellite through the Earth's atmosphere. The CGRO was launched by NASA in 1991, carrying instruments which measured gamma radiation from high-energy sources such as supernovae, galaxies and pulsars. After nine years of research it was de-orbited in June 2000 through a controlled re-entry after the failure of one of its gyroscopes, which provide information on position and speed. Large portions of the 17, 000 kilogram satellite were vapourised as it passed through the atmosphere (as seen here). The remaining debris fragments landed safely in the Pacific ocean.
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