SUMMARY: NASA's Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) successfully launched on board a Delta II rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 0535 GMT (1:35 am EDT). The Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia reported the first data from the observatory 64 minutes after launch. The last of the Great Observatories, SIRTF will use infrared detectors to help expand astronomers' knowledge of many objects in the sky, including brown dwarfs, planet-forming discs of debris around other stars, and distant galaxies. The observatory will undergo two months of testing followed by another month of science verification; after that, SIRFT will be ready for use.

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