Press Release

Ball Aerospace Celebrates Suomi NPP One Year Anniversary

By SpaceRef Editor
November 8, 2012
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The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite built for NASA, marked one year on orbit, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.

Suomi NPP is the bridge to the next-generation U.S. civil polar-orbiting Earth-observation satellite system. It provides continuity of critical observations for accurate weather forecasting, reliable severe storm outlooks, global measurements of atmospheric and oceanic conditions such as sea surface temperatures, ozone, and more.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses the satellite data in models for medium- and long-term weather forecasting. Suomi NPP will also improve and extend climate measurements for 30 different environmental data records of the atmosphere, land, ocean, climate, and space environment.

Under contract to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Ball Aerospace built the Suomi NPP satellite, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite instrument aboard the satellite, integrated all five of the spacecraft’s instruments, and conducted satellite testing prior to launch. Ball Aerospace is now building the successor to Suomi NPP, the JPSS-1satellite and its OMPS instrument for a 2017 launch. JPSS satellites are being developed by NASA for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“The Ball-built Suomi NPP satellite is delivering critical weather forecasting information as well as the data needed for technological and scientific advancement in climate and oceanographic science,” said David L. Taylor, president and CEO of Ball Aerospace. “Ball’s expertise is now being leveraged for JPSS-1 to ensure these vital global observations continue uninterrupted.”

Suomi NPP was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base into a sun-synchronous orbit, producing coverage of nearly the entire Earth with 14 orbits per day. Suomi NPP orbits Earth every 102 minutes, and to date has completed more than 5,000 orbits capturing data from the Earth’s land, oceans and atmosphere.

On Oct. 24, 2012, the NASA/NOAA 2012 ozone measurements were released using the Ball Aerospace-built Ozone and Mapping Profiler Suite (OMPS) aboard Suomi NPP for the first time.

The NPP spacecraft is a member of the Ball Configurable Platform (BCP) family of spacecraft designed for cost-effective, remote sensing applications. Its proven design accommodates a wide range of payloads, including optical applications with sub-meter resolutions and synthetic aperture radar. The NPP spacecraft bus is the eighth of 11 spacecraft built by Ball Aerospace on the same BCP core architecture. In all, this architecture has more than 50 years of successful on-orbit operations.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for 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. For more information visit

Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) is a supplier of high quality packaging 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 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2011 sales of more than $8.6 billion. For the latest Ball news and for other company information, please visit

SpaceRef staff editor.