De-orbiting of space debris into Earth is one of the methods to control and minimize the degradation of the space environment. The de-orbiting scenario poses a challenge of providing safety for the Earth population and other space-based assets below the orbit track of the spacecraft being de-orbited. Rigorous risk management is needed to provide the necessary safety margin for de-orbit operations. These challenges were faced during the controlled de-orbit of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO) into the Pacific Ocean on June 4, 2000. This paper presents a risk management approach utilized at various stages of this mission; processes used to identify credible contingencies; and planned responses to contingencies for use during mission execution.