GoldenEye’s Giant Satellite Dish Has Collapsed

Arecibo Observatory is not actually a satellite dish. Satellite dishes connect to orbiting satellites–what the Arecibo Observatory does is observe extremely distant celestial bodies, making it a telescope. That said, its unique and impressive design made it the perfect place to set various theatrical productions, including 1995’s GoldenEye.

And as of 7:55 this morning, it’s completely and utterly broken. The receiver instrument platform that hung suspended high above the 305m (1000 ft) spherical reflector dish had collapsed, smashing both it and the dish to pieces.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) tweeted the sad news out earlier today. Thankfully, there were no reported injuries even though the platform weighs in at a solid 900 tons.

“NSF is saddened by this development,” the foundation tweeted. “As we move forward, we will be looking for ways to assist the scientific community and maintain our strong relationship with the people of Puerto Rico.”

Arecibo Observatory had been in disrepair for years. Just two weeks ago, a cable that held the platform up broke loose, sounding the alarm that weather and corrosion were about to become catastrophic issues for the 60-year-old telescope. With this collapse, it seems doubtful that the telescope will ever see operation again.

The iconic design of the observatory made it the ideal set location for film productions, including Species, Contact, and of course GoldenEye. In both the film and N64 game, Arecibo Observatory stood in for Janus crime syndicate’s base where they’d created a satellite dish large enough to hijack the Soviet Union’s titular space-based weapon system.

Called “Cradle” in GoldenEye 007, Bond’s final showdown with Trevelyan would see the villain plunge to his death in the same way as the Arecibo Observatory platform did earlier this morning. I guess all things come full circle, huh?

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