Paula Cleggett-Haleim Headquarters, Washington,D.C.

(Phone: 202/453-1547)

February 2, 1990

Carter Dove Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. (Phone: 301/286-5566) RELEASE: 90-19 GAMMA-RAY OBSERVATORY SET FOR SHIPMENT TO FLORIDA LAUNCH SITE The Gamma-Ray Observatory (GRO), one of NASA'S Four Great Observatories, will be shipped Feb. 6 by builder TRW from its Redondo Beach, Calif., facility to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Fla., in preparation for Space Shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla., in November 1990. Following the Shuttle launch, GRO will be deployed into a near-circular orbit 279 miles from Earth, where it will gather gamma-ray data generated at the beginning of time -- perhaps 15 billion years ago -- in a comprehensive scientific effort to learn more about the origin and fate of the universe. After shipment by a flatbed trailer-equipped truck from Redondo Beach to Los Angeles International Airport, the NASA satellite will be airlifted to CCAFS for further testing and eventual integration at KSC with Space Shuttle Atlantis. The GRO will be the heaviest spacecraft ever deployed from the Space Shuttle, weighing nearly 17 tons. It is among the first spacecraft designed exclusively by computer techniques. Its four scientific instruments are the largest, most advanced and most sensitive of their type ever flown in space. They are designed to study gamma rays emitted by some of the most exotic and explosive objects in the universe. After an initial 2-year mission, the GRO may continue to function for 8 years or longer.

Completing the complement of NASA's Four Great Observatories are: the Hubble Space Telescope, scheduled for Space Shuttle Discovery launch from KSC April 18; the Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility; and the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, the latter two planned for launch in the last half of the decade. - end TO: MDS/PRA Group 1615 L Street, N.W. - Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20036 DATE & TIME: FEBRUARY 2, 1990 ORDERED BY: Edward Campion NASA Headquarters/LMD 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20546 PHONE: 202/453-8400 PROJECT TITLE: Release No: 90-19 PRINT ORDER: 2204 PRINTING: Camera Ready, lst pg on NASA logo, other pages plain ENCLOSE & MAIL: Release of 1 page MAIL DATE: FEBRUARY 5, 1990 EXTRA COPIES: Deliver specified quanities to locations below:

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