Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
   
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO)






Compton Gamma Ray Observatory
The second of NASA's Great Observatories and the heaviest astrophysical payload ever flown at the time of its launch. CGRO was named after the American physicist Arthur Holly Compton and carried four instruments that covered an unprecedented six orders of magnitude in energy, from 30 keV to 30 GeV. In this energy range CGRO improved sensitivity over previous missions by a full order of magnitude and, during nine years of service, revolutionized our understanding of the gamma-ray sky. Following the failure of one of its three gyroscopes, NASA decided to de-orbit the spacecraft and it reentered on June 4, 2000.


Shuttle deployment date Apr. 7, 1991
Shuttle mission STS-37
orbit 448 × 453 km × 28.5°
size 9.1 × 4.6 m
mass 15,620 kg


Related categories

   • GAMMA-RAY SATELLITES
   • SATELLITES AND SPACE PROBES