The Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory

NASA Schedules Swift Spacecraft Launch

Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1547)

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(Phone: 321/867-2468)

Nancy Neal
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301/286-0039)

Nov. 8, 2004


NASA's Swift observatory is scheduled for launch Wednesday, Nov. 17. Liftoff aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket is targeted at 12:09 p.m., EST, the opening of a one-hour launch window. Liftoff is from Pad 17-A on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Fla. If postponed the next launch opportunity is 12:09 p.m. EST, Nov. 18.

Prelaunch Press Briefing

The prelaunch press conference is at the NASA News Center, Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m. EST. Briefing participants:

Dr. Anne Kinney, Director, Universe Division, Science Mission Directorate, Headquarters, Washington

Chuck Dovale, NASA Launch Manager/Launch Director, KSC

Kris Walsh, Director of NASA Programs, Boeing Expendable Launch Systems, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Mark Edison, Spaectum Astro Swift Program Manager, Spectrum Astro, Gilbert, Ariz.

Joe Dezio, Swift Project Manager, Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Md.

Joel Tumbiolo, USAF Delta II Launch Weather Officer, 45th Weather Squadron, CCAFS

Swift Mission Science Briefing

A mission science briefing immediately follows the prelaunch press conference, with:

Dr. Paul Hertz, Assistant Associate Administrator for Science, Science Mission Directorate NASA Headquarters, Washington

Dr. Neil Gehrels, Principal Investigator, GSFC

Dr. Alan Wells, United Kingdom X-ray Telescope Lead, University of Leicester, England

Dr. Guido Chincarini, Swift Italian Science Team Lead, Brera Observatory and University of Milan at Bicocca, Italy

Swift is a NASA spacecraft designed to pinpoint the location of gamma-ray bursts. It can quickly turn and point its instruments to catch the gamma-ray burst. Swift can study both the burst and its afterglow. Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions known in the universe, distant yet fleeting explosions that appear to signal the births of black holes.

The bursts last from only a few milliseconds to a few minutes. They emit more than 100 billion times as much energy as the sun annually, never to appear in the same spot again. The afterglow following the initial gamma-ray flash can linger in X-ray light, visible light and radio waves for hours or weeks, providing detailed information about the burst.

NASA TV Coverage

Live NASA TV launch coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. EST Nov. 17 and concludes approximately one hour after launch.

NASA TV is available on the Web and via satellite in the continental U.S. on AMC-6, Transponder 9C, C-Band, at 72 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. In Alaska and Hawaii, NASA TV is available on AMC-7, Transponder 18C, C-Band, at 137 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 4060.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. For NASA TV information and schedules, visit: