Press Release

Ball Aerospace Flies Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Radiometer Aboard NOAA-L Satellite Launched Today

By SpaceRef Editor
September 21, 2000
Filed under

When the $209
million NOAA-L weather satellite launched successfully this morning
from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., it carried a spectral
radiometer built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

The Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Radiometer 2 (SBUV/2) globally
maps the concentration and vertical distribution of ozone in the
Earth’s atmosphere.

SBUV was initiated at Ball Aerospace in 1980, with a first launch
four years later. The SBUV/2 monitors density and distribution of
ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere from six to 30 miles. Atmospheric
ozone absorbs the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which are believed to cause
gene mutations, skin cancer and cataracts in humans. Ultraviolet rays
may also damage crops and aquatic ecosystems.

Ball Aerospace has produced a family of eight SBUV instruments
under contract to NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and NOAA in the
last two decades and is currently completing its ninth SBUV/2.

The atmospheric ozone measurements produced by SBUV/2 are
integrated into an ultraviolet index compiled by the National Weather
Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. The index predicts
the risk of ultraviolet exposure at the noon hour every day for
various U.S. cities. It rates the risk on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10
or higher being the maximum risk for sunburn and other exposure
damage.

For example, cities in Colorado have a higher risk of ultraviolet
exposure due to the high altitude and the greater number of sunny days
than cities at lower elevations.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. provides imaging and
communications products for commercial and government customers
worldwide and is a subsidiary of Ball Corporation , a
Fortune 500 company which had sales of $3.6 billion in 1999.

SpaceRef staff editor.