Press Release

Atlantis Astronauts Install Ball Aerospace’s WFC3 and COS Aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope

By SpaceRef Editor
May 30, 2009
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Astronauts for NASA’s STS-125 servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) installed two science instruments built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. during their 13-day mission and completed critical repairs to two previously installed Ball science instruments. Space Shuttle Atlantis and its crew of seven landed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on Sunday, May 24.

The Wide Field Camera 3 was installed during the first spacewalk on May 14, and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph was installed on the third spacewalk, on May 16. Wide Field is Hubble’s most technologically advanced instrument to take images in the ultraviolet, visible and near infrared portions of the spectrum while COS will help scientists better understand the universe’s cosmic web by gathering information from the ultraviolet light from distant objects.

Since 1978 Ball has built seven instruments for HST. In addition to WFC3 and COS they include:

* Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), installed in 2002
* Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), installed in 1997
* Near-infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer (NICMOS), installed in 1997
* Corrective Optics Space Telescope (COSTAR), installed in 1993 and returned to Earth on May 24, 2009
* Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS), one of the original science instruments, removed in 1997

“The exceptional work performed by NASA’s STS-125 astronauts during the long awaited servicing mission to Hubble is a reminder of what makes the U.S. space program great,” said David L. Taylor, president and CEO of Ball Aerospace. “Ball is very proud of its role in extending the life of the Hubble Telescope and making it possible for scientists to add new chapters to our knowledge of the universe.”

During the STS-125 mission astronauts made unprecedented on-orbit repairs to the ACS and STIS instruments and also replaced batteries and gyroscopes to extend the life of HST. NASA anticipates that the new HST instruments and repairs will keep Hubble operational until the James Webb Space Telescope joins it on orbit in 2014. As the principal subcontractor for the Webb, Ball Aerospace has been working since 2003 to build the Webb’s advanced optical system.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. Since 1956, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific ‘firsts’ and is a technology innovator in aerospace.

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL – News) is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products for beverage, food and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 14,000 people worldwide and reported 2008 sales of approximately $7.6 billion.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains “forward-looking” statements concerning future events and financial performance. Words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Key risks and uncertainties are summarized in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Exhibit 99.2 in our Form 10-K, which are available at our Web site and at Factors that might affect our packaging segments include fluctuation in product demand and preferences; availability and cost of raw materials; competitive packaging availability, pricing and substitution; changes in climate and weather; crop yields; competitive activity; failure to achieve anticipated productivity improvements or production cost reductions, including our beverage can end project; mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; and changes in foreign exchange rates, tax rates and activities of foreign subsidiaries. Factors that might affect our aerospace segment include: funding, authorization, availability and returns of government and commercial contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts. Factors that might affect the company as a whole include those listed plus: accounting changes; changes in senior management; the current global credit squeeze and its effects on liquidity, credit risk, asset values and the economy; successful or unsuccessful acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures; integration of recently acquired businesses; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including in respect of chemicals or substances used in raw materials or in the manufacturing process; governmental investigations; technological developments and innovations; goodwill impairment; antitrust, patent and other litigation; strikes; labor cost changes; rates of return projected and earned on assets of the company’s defined benefit retirement plans; pension changes; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or other effects.

SpaceRef staff editor.