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F. E. Marshall (NASA/GSFC), D. N. Burrows (PSU), Swift Team
Swift is one of five MIDEX missions recently selected for Phase A study by NASA. It is an autonomous, multiwavelength observatory to study gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and their afterglows. Swift's Burst Alert Telescope will detect 100s of GRBs per year, and the observatory will autonomously train sensitive UV/optical and X-ray telescopes on the burst within 10 to 100 seconds. All positions, on-board finding charts and X-ray spectra will be publicly available within seconds through the GCN to promote ground-based observations of afterglows. Swift can also respond to triggers from other spacecraft. Afterglows will be monitored for days to weeks after the bursts. These data will be rapidly converted into standard formats, processed into summaries of the observations, and made available to the community. The Swift Science Center will also maintain a publicly accessible data base of results from other ground- and space-based instruments. Swift will be operated so that its powerful capabilities for exploring the nature of gamma-ray bursts is available to the entire community.
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