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Boeing Delta II rocket.

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Boeing Delta II rocket.
Boeing Delta II rocket.

Swift Launches to Search for Cosmic Explosions.

After several days of delays, NASA's Swift observatory was finally launched Saturday at 1716 UTC (12:16 pm EST) atop a Boeing Delta II rocket. Swift's job will be to scan the heavens for elusive Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs), which Astronomers think could be the birth cries of new black holes. GRBs are short-lived, lasting only seconds - a few minutes at most. Swift can locate an explosion, and turn the entire spacecraft in about a minute to focus sensitive instruments on the fading afterglow. If everything works as planned, the spacecraft should be able to find more than 100 of these explosions every year.

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