AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 26. Gamma Ray Bursts
Oral, Monday, January 7, 2002, 10:00-11:30am, International Ballroom West

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[26.01] The Swift Gamma Ray Burst MIDEX Mission

N. Gehrels (NASA/GSFC), Swift Team

Swift is a NASA gamma-ray burst MIDEX mission that is in development for launch in 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 ~0.6 mCrab. A wide-field camera will detect hundreds of 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 performed 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 and development of a coded-aperture camera with a large-area (~0.5 square meter) CdZnTe detector array. Much of the hardware is currently in fabrication and integration. Key components of the mission are vigorous follow-up and outreach programs to engage the public and astronomical community in Swift.

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