NASA today announced plans to exercise a contract option
with the Boeing Company for a Delta II 7320-10 expendable
launch vehicle to launch the Swift Gamma Ray Burst Explorer
spacecraft. The firm-fixed price option is covered under the
NASA Launch Services contract (NAS10-00-001) officially
awarded by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on June 16, 2000 to
Delta Launch Services, Inc., Huntington Beach, CA.

NASA’s total launch services budget for the Swift campaign is
approximately $50 million dollars.

Using multiple instruments, Swift is the first-ever spacecraft
designed to detect, observe and characterize gamma ray bursts
in several different wavelengths. It is designed to provide a
definitive answer regarding the nature of gamma ray bursts and
will also perform the first sensitive hard x-ray survey of the
sky. Over the operating design life of three years, Swift will
observe approximately 1,000 gamma ray bursts.

Swift is scheduled for launch September 2003 from Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.

The Swift Program is managed by the NASA Headquarters Office
of Space Science, Washington, DC. The Swift spacecraft project
is managed by NASA’s Explorers Program Office, Goddard Space
Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD.