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KSC Release: 84-04

Don Savage
NASA Headquarters
(Phone: 202/358-1727)

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center
(Phone: 321/867-2468)

Nancy Neal
Goddard Space Flight Center
(Phone: 301/286-0039)

Note to Editors:
Swift Spacecraft Launching Aboard Delta II Nov. 17

The launch of the Swift observatory, a NASA spacecraft to pinpoint the location of gamma-ray bursts, is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 17. Liftoff aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket is targeted to occur at the opening of a one-hour launch window that opens at 12:09 p.m. EST. The mission will begin with a liftoff from Pad 17-A on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Should launch be postponed for any reason, the next launch opportunity is on Nov. 18, also at 12:09 p.m. EST.

Gamma-ray bursts are distant yet fleeting explosions that appear to signal the births of black holes. They are the most powerful explosions known in the universe, emitting more than 100 billion times the energy that the Sun does in a year. Yet they last only from a few milliseconds to a few minutes, never to appear in the same spot again.

The Swift observatory is named for the nimble bird, because it can swiftly turn and point its instruments to catch a burst "on the fly" to study both the burst and its afterglow. This afterglow phenomenon follows the initial gamma-ray flash in most bursts and it can linger in X-ray light, visible light and radio waves for hours or weeks, providing detailed information on the burst.

Prelaunch Press Conference

The prelaunch press conference will be held at the NASA News Center at Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m. EDT. Participating in the briefing will be:

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

Chuck Dovale, NASA Launch Manager/Launch Director
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

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

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

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

Joel Tumbiolo, USAF Delta II Launch Weather Officer
45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

Swift Mission Science Briefing

A mission science briefing will immediately follow the prelaunch press conference. Participating will be:

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

Dr. Neil Gehrels, Principal Investigator
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

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

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

No post-launch press conference will be held. A post-launch release will be issued with details on the state of health of Swift after spacecraft data is received through the Swift Mission Operations Center at Penn State University. This release is expected to be issued approximately two hours after launch.

Accreditation and Media Access Badges for KSC

Those who need press accreditation and access badges to the Kennedy Space Center to cover the Swift prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing may do the accreditation process via the Web by going to:

Media may also send a letter of request on news organization letterhead to the NASA KSC News Center. Include the names and Social Security numbers, birth dates, nationality and country of citizenship of those who require accreditation. Letters should be faxed to 321/867-2692 or may be addressed to:

Swift Launch Accreditation
Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

All accreditation for the Swift prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing at KSC must be received by the close of business on Monday, Nov. 15. Access badges may be obtained at the Pass and Identification Building, the badging station located on State Road 405 just east of U.S. 1. Contact the NASA-KSC News Center at 321/867-2468 for further information.

Remote Camera Placement at Complex 17

Tuesday, Nov. 16: Photographers who wish to set up remote cameras at the Delta launch complex will be escorted by a Boeing representative to Pad 17-A. Departure will be at 9 a.m. from the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building located on State Road 401 outside Gate 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Launch Day Tower Rollback Photo Opportunity at Complex 17

Wednesday, Nov. 17: There will be an opportunity to observe rollback of the mobile service tower from around the Swift/Delta II launch vehicle at Pad 17-A. Media will depart at 3:30 a.m. by government bus from the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building on State Road 401 outside Gate 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required.

Launch Day Press Site Access to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Wednesday, Nov. 17: Media covering the Swift launch will be able to obtain press access badges beginning at 10:15 a.m. at the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building on State Road 401 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required to obtain an access badge. A driver's license alone will not be sufficient. Departure for Press Site 1 in a vehicle caravan will be at 10:45 a.m. with an Air Force and NASA escort.

Video and audio plug-in capability for NASA Television will be available at Press Site 1. In addition, a limited number of laptop telephone interfaces will be available.

NASA News Center Hours for Launch

During the week of launch beginning Monday, Nov. 15, the NASA-KSC News Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Web Prelaunch and Launch Coverage

Two special live prelaunch webcasts are scheduled at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 15, and 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 16. For more information, go to the NASA Direct Web site at:

NASA Television launch coverage will be webcast at:

Live information updates will be available through Kennedy Space Center's Virtual
Launch Control Center at:

NASA Television Coverage

Tuesday, Nov. 16: NASA Television will carry live the Swift prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing beginning at 1 p.m. EST. Wednesday, Nov. 17: NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 10:30 a.m. EST and conclude approximately one hour after launch after data from the Swift Mission Operations Center at Penn State University confirms the spacecraft's solar arrays have successfully deployed.

In the continental United States, NASA Television is on AMC-6, Transponder 9 located at 72 degrees West longitude. In Alaska and Hawaii, all Swift events will be on AMC-7, Transponder 18, located at 137 degrees West longitude.

For further NASA TV information and programming schedules, visit on the Internet:

Audio of the prelaunch press conference and the launch coverage will be carried on the NASA "V" circuits which may be accessed by dialing 321/867-1220; 1240; 1260...7135.

Recorded status reports on the launch of Swift and updates to the Note To Editors will be provided on the KSC news media codaphone starting Monday, Nov. 15. The telephone number is 321/867-2525. Media are encouraged to check the recording for updates during the hours that the NASA-KSC News Center is closed over the weekend.

The management of the Swift launch is the responsibility of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, Fla., with the Delta II launch service provided by Boeing Expendable Launch Systems in Huntington Beach, Calif. Swift is a medium-class Explorer mission managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The observatory was built for NASA by Spectrum Astro, a division of General Dynamics. Control of the spacecraft during the mission will be from Penn State University.


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