Dolores Beasley

Headquarters, Washington, DC

(Phone: 202/358-1753)

Nancy Neal

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

(Phone: 301/286-0039)


For the past nine years NASA’s Compton Gamma Ray Observatory
(CGRO) has explored a violent but invisible and little-known world
of gamma-ray bursts, antimatter fountains, and particle jets
streaming millions of miles per hour away from black holes.

Compton, a workhorse for nine years, exceeded NASA’s
expectations for a two- to five- year mission. However, in
December 1999 one of its three gyroscopes failed, leaving CGRO
with two working gyroscopes. Currently, the spacecraft is
continuing its science program with the two remaining gyroscopes.

After extensive study to consider all options — which
include directing the satellite back to Earth via a controlled-
entry operation or extending its mission by controlling the
spacecraft without the use of its gyroscopes — NASA officials
have made a decision regarding Compton’s future.

The decision will be announced at a news conference at 1 p.m.
EST Friday, March 24, at the James E. Webb Auditorium at NASA
Headquarters, 300 E St., SW, Washington, DC.

Briefing participants will include:

* Dr. Edward Weiler, Associate Administrator for Space
Science, NASA Headquarters

* Alphonso V. Diaz, Director, NASA Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, MD

* Martin E. Frederick; Associate Chief, Guidance,
Navigation, and Control Center; Goddard

* Dr. Neil Gehrels, project scientist, Compton Gamma Ray
Observatory, Goddard

The event will be carried live on NASA Television with two-
way question-and-answer capability for reporters covering the
briefing from participating NASA centers. NASA television is
broadcast on satellite GE-2, transponder 9C, at 85 degrees West
longitude, vertical polarization, frequency 3880 MHz, audio of 6.8