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'GoldenEye' finale telescope in Puerto Rico set to be demolished after structure becomes unsafe

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read
Sean Bean meets his maker in 'GoldenEye'. (Credit: Eon/MGM)
Sean Bean meets his maker in 'GoldenEye'. (Credit: Eon/MGM)

A telescope in Puerto Rico used as the filming location for the finale of James Bond adventure GoldenEye is set to be demolished due to safety concerns.

The Arecibo Observatory played host to the confrontation between Pierce Brosnan’s 007 and his traitorous former MI6 colleague Alec Trevelyan, played by Sean Bean.

Bond has the opportunity to save Trevelyan when the two men dangle below the antenna of the villain’s satellite dish, but allows him to fall to his death — one of Bean’s many big screen demises.

Read more: 25 years of GoldenEye

Now, the iconic structure is due to be decommissioned and demolished by the US National Science Foundation after the building was deemed unsalvageable.

The telescope sustained damage in August when an auxiliary cable slipped from its socket and left a large “gash” in the 1,000ft wide dish below.

This aerial view shows a hole in the dish panels of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, on November 19, 2020. (Photo by Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)
This aerial view shows a hole in the dish panels of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, on November 19, 2020. (Photo by Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)

Another cable subsequently broke later in the year, with evidence of “significant slippage” on other cables, making the site unsafe for repair work to be carried out.

This led to the recommendation that the 305-metre telescope be decommissioned and subsequently destroyed in a “controlled demolition”, designed to preserve the safety of the rest of the observatory.

The structure had previously survived damage sustained during Hurricane Maria in 2017 and earthquakes in 2019 and 2020.

Read more: Which Bond film pipped GoldenEye as best ever?

NSF director Sethuraman Panchanathan said: "For nearly six decades, the Arecibo Observatory has served as a beacon for breakthrough science and what a partnership with a community can look like.

“While this is a profound change, we will be looking for ways to assist the scientific community and maintain that strong relationship with the people of Puerto Rico."

The main entrance of the Arecibo Observatory is seen in Arecibo, Puerto Rico on November 19, 2020. (Photo by Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)
The main entrance of the Arecibo Observatory is seen in Arecibo, Puerto Rico on November 19, 2020. (Photo by Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)

The observatory was completed in 1963 and has been on the US National Register of Historic Places since 2008.

It continues to be used for scientific work in the fields of radio astronomy and atmospheric science, as well as boasting a visitor centre for the public.

Read more: Quiz about the biggest movies of 1995

In addition to its iconic inclusion in GoldenEye, the observatory also appeared in several other movie productions during the 1990s, including sci-fi horror Species and Robert Zemeckis’s Contact.

Around the same time, it popped up in an episode of The X Files.

Watch: James Bond actors pay tribute to Sir Sean Connery