returned to Earth after 9 years in orbit -- ending its remarkable voyage of discovery. The massive, bus-sized spacecraft carried an unprecedented array of gamma-ray detectors which explored the bizarre, high-energy universe of solar flares, black holes, pulsars, supernovae, active galaxies, and gamma-ray bursts. Sequenced above from upper left to lower right, video frames recorded by the Air Force Maui Optical Station's Advanced Electro-Optical System 3.7 meter telescope show Compton in its nearly final orbit over Hawaiian skies. A controlled deorbit brought surviving pieces of the satellite to a safe splashdown in the Pacific Ocean about 2,400 miles southeast of Hawaii. Russia plans to deorbit the now uninhabited Mir space station later this month, also bringing it safely to rest in the Pacific.
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& Michigan Tech. U.