Press Release

Ball Aerospace Completes Environmental Test Phase for WISE Mission

By SpaceRef Editor
July 13, 2009
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Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has completed environmental testing for NASA’s Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and has begun post-environmental performance testing. WISE is working to a date of November 1, 2009 for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

WISE environmental testing included thermal vacuum, electromagnetic compatibility, electromagnetic interference, vibration, shock and acoustic testing to confirm the design integrity of the spacecraft. Earlier this year Ball Aerospace integrated the WISE infrared cryogenic science instrument built by Space Dynamics Laboratory.

The WISE RS-300 spacecraft derives from the Ball Aerospace NextSat spacecraft built for the successful Orbital Express mission launched on March 9, 2007. The flight system has an estimated mass of 560 Kg (about 1,175 pounds) and will fly at an altitude of about 313 miles. The spacecraft will be three-axis stabilized, with body-fixed solar arrays and use a high-gain antenna to transmit to ground through the TDRSS geostationary system. In addition to building the spacecraft, Ball Aerospace will perform testing requirements and flight system integration.

“Successful conclusion of the environmental test phase indicates that WISE is on track to perform much like Ball’s NextSat,” said Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for Ball’s civil and operational space unit. “This risk reduction milestone brings us one step closer to an infrared map of the sky like we’ve never seen before.”

WISE will survey the entire sky with sensitivity hundreds of times better than previous infrared missions. It is designed to identify stars closest to the sun, enable a wide variety of studies in star formation and galactic structures, and assist the James Webb Space Telescope program identify which objects to observe following its expected 2014 launch. Ball is the principal subcontractor for James Webb, providing the advanced optical technology and lightweight mirror system.

WISE is one of several cryogenically cooled infrared systems supported by Ball Aerospace. Other programs have included the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) for the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages WISE for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
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.

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic 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 14,000 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.