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KSC Release: 93-04
Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(Phone: 321/867-2468)

NASA Sets Swift Launch for Saturday, Nov. 20

Launch of NASA's Swift spacecraft aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 20 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Complex 17. The one hour launch window opens at 12:10 p.m. EST.

Mission managers met this afternoon and confirmed the work involving the replacement and retest of the rocket’s Command-Receiver Decoder equipment was complete and successful.

Air Force weather forecasters are indicating only a 10 percent chance of launch weather constraint violations on Saturday.

The Swift observatory is designed to pinpoint the location of gamma-ray bursts. These distant yet fleeting explosions appear to signal the birth 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.

For up-to-date launch status, media can call the KSC codephone at 321-867-2525.

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