HEAD 2003 Meeting
Session 31. SWIFT Mission Overview and Prospects
Workshop, Monday, March 24, 2003, Organizers: N. Gehrels, J. Nousek and N. White

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[31.05] Preparing for the Swift GRB Mission

N. Gehrels (NASA-GSFC), Swift Science Team

Swift is a NASA gamma-ray burst MIDEX mission that is in development for launch in December 2003. It is a multiwavelength transient observatory for GRB astronomy. The goals of the mission are to determine the origin of GRBs and their afterglows and use bursts to probe the early Universe. It will also perform a survey of the hard X-ray sky to a sensitivity level of ~1 mCrab. A wide-field camera will detect more than a hundred GRBs per year to 5 times fainter than BATSE. Sensitive narrow-field X-ray and UV/optical telescopes will be pointed at the burst location in 20 to 70 sec by an autonomously controlled "swift" spacecraft. For each burst, arcsec positions will be determined and optical/UV/X-ray/gamma-ray spectrophotometry performed. Measurements of redshift will be made for many of the bursts. The instrumentation is a combination of superb existing flight-spare hardware and design from XMM and Spectrum-X/JET-X contributed by collaborators in the UK and Italy and development of a coded-aperture camera with a large-area (~0.5 square meter) CdZnTe detector array. The hardware is currently in final stages of fabrication and initial stages of integration and test. Key components of the mission are vigorous follow-up and outreach programs to engage the astronomical community and public in Swift.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#2
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.