The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory was the second of NASA's Great Observatories. Compton, at 17 tons, the heaviest astrophysical payload ever flown, was launched on April 5, 1991 aboard the space shuttle Atlantis (STS-37). Compton has four instruments that cover an unprecedented six decades of the electromagnetic spectrum, from 30 keV to 30 GeV. In order of increasing spectral energy coverage, these instruments are the Burst And Transient Source Experiment (BATSE), the Oriented Scintillation Spectrometer Experiment (OSSE), the Imaging Compton Telescope (COMPTEL), and the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET). For each of the instruments, an improvement in sensitivity of better than a factor of ten is realized over previous missions.
In a highly controversial decision, NASA ended the mission on June 4, 2000 by intentionally destroying CGRO during a forced re-entry.
Launch (by Space Shuttle; STS-37)
|End of Mission
satellite destroyed during re-entry