Rod Nordland in the NYT has your Monday must-read article out on Afghanistan. He gives a great view of the state of play as we enter the ending weeks
UPDATE: Ames Hosts Media for Rescheduled IRIS Launch
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - The launch of NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission has been delayed one day to 7:27 p.m. PDT Thursday, June 27, 2013, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Reporters are invited to join the public in a launch celebration in the Exploration Center at NASA's Ames Research Center on June 27. Exploration Center doors will open at 5 p.m. with a short program featuring special keynote speakers followed by a live NASA Television broadcast and commentary with Ames' IRIS mission personnel that begins at 6 p.m. IRIS team members will be available for interviews to discuss Ames' contributions to the mission.
Reporters interested in attending the celebration and interviewing team members at Ames must contact Rachel Hoover at email@example.com by 5 p.m. June 27.
Because of a significant power outage at Vandenberg earlier this week, certain Western Range facilities will not be ready to support the original June 26 launch date. Range officials believe they will be able to restore power to the affected facilities in time to support a launch Thursday evening. Managers will assess the situation at the Launch Readiness Review Wednesday.
The launch of IRIS on an Orbital Sciences Corporation Pegasus XL rocket is targeted for the middle of a five-minute window. The drop of the air-launched Pegasus from Orbital's L-1011 carrier aircraft will occur over the Pacific Ocean at an altitude of 39,000 feet, about 100 miles northwest of Vandenberg, off the central coast of California, south of Big Sur.
Once IRIS launches, a team at Ames will control the spacecraft on a daily basis from the Mission Operations Center, which serves as an example of a small, low-cost flight operations center for NASA. Ground data system engineers at Ames also support IRIS by helping to design, develop and integrate the software tools that enable flight controller tasks.
IRIS is a NASA Small Explorer Mission to observe how solar material moves, gathers energy and heats up as it travels through a little-understood region in the sun's lower atmosphere. This interface region between the sun's photosphere and corona powers its dynamic million-degree atmosphere and drives the solar wind.
IRIS' unique capabilities will be coupled with state of the art 3-D numerical modeling on supercomputers, such as Pleiades, housed at Ames. Recent improvements in the power of supercomputers, such as Pleiades, to analyze large amounts of data will enable IRIS to provide better information about the region than ever before.
For complete details on media registration, media events, and live launch coverage on NASA TV, visit:http://go.nasa.gov/13L6djG Live countdown coverage through NASA¹s Launch Blog begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 27. Coverage features live updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and launch. A launch highlight podcast will be posted approximately 30 minutes after launch.
To view the IRIS webcast and launch blog, and learn more about the mission visit: http://www.nasa.gov/iris
For information about Ames' role in the mission, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/18eIcHj