Press Release

Ball Aerospace Provides the “Eyes” for NASA’s Latest Great Observatory

By SpaceRef Editor
September 3, 2003
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NASA’s latest telescope, fourth in a 20-year
line of Great Observatories, launched early Monday morning from Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station, Fla., to provide new insight into the distant universe.
Onboard the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) are two scientific
instruments and a unique cooled telescope system built at Ball Aerospace &
Technologies Corp. in Boulder.

The Cryogenic Telescope Assembly, or CTA, built at Ball Aerospace, is the "eyes"
of SIRTF, with a lightweight telescope and cooling technology that allow it to
see the faint infrared light produced by young galaxies, brown dwarfs and other
cosmic objects.

The unique cooling system aboard the CTA allows SIRTF to be launched "warm."
Once in space, the telescope is cooled to its operating temperature of 5 degrees
above absolute zero (about 450 degrees below zero, Farenheit). This warm launch
technique has never before been used. It will conserve the liquid helium coolant
and enable a mission length of between two and one half years to five years in

Ball Aerospace was responsible for building two of SIRTF’s three scientific
instruments. The Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) will provide SIRTF with low and
moderate spectral-resolution spectroscopic capabilities. The Multiband Imaging
Photometer (MIPS) is a far-infrared instrument capable of imaging photometry,
high-resolution imaging, and scan mapping. The detectors used in these
instruments are 1,000 times more sensitive than those used in any previous space
mission, and will give astronomers unprecedented views of our universe.

SIRTF is the fourth, and last, component of NASA’s family of Great
Observatories, which study a wide variety of astronomical phenomena. The
long-wave infrared capability of the SIRTF provides a unique scientific
complement to the Hubble Space Telescope (which provides images and data from
ultraviolet, visible and short-wave infrared light) and the Chandra X-Ray
Observatory (which provides data from X-ray light). The Compton Gamma Ray
Observatory was removed from orbit by NASA in 2000 after a successful nine-year
mission that provided data on the universe’s high-energy gamma rays. SIRTF’s
infrared capabilities will pierce through heavy space dust and allow astronomers
to study newly formed stars and other celestial bodies. Ball Aerospace played a
chief role in all four of NASA’s Great Observatories by building science
instruments, optical systems, cryogenic systems, mechanisms and electronics.
SIRTF is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Ball Corporation is one of the world’s leading suppliers of metal and plastic
packaging to the beverage and food industries. The company also owns Ball
Aerospace & Technologies Corp. With the addition of Ball Packaging Europe,
acquired in December 2002, Ball expects to report 2003 sales of approximately $5
billion, of which approximately $4.5 billion will come from its two packaging
segments and $500 million from its aerospace and technologies segment.

Forward-Looking Statements

The information in this news release contains "forward-looking" statements.
Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those expressed or
implied. As time passes, the relevance and accuracy of forward-looking
statements contained in this release may change. The company currently does not
intend to update any particular forward-looking statement except as it deems
necessary at quarterly or annual release of earnings. Please refer to the Form
10-Q filed by Ball Corporation on May 13, 2003, for a summary of key risk
factors that could affect actual results or outcomes. Factors that might affect
the packaging segments of the company are: fluctuation in consumer and customer
demand; competitive packaging material availability, pricing and substitution;
the weather; fruit, vegetable and fishing yields; company and industry
productive capacity and competitive activity; lack of productivity improvement
or production cost reductions; regulatory action or laws, including the German
mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws and environmental and
workplace safety regulations; availability and cost of raw materials, energy and
transportation; the ability or inability to pass on to customers changes in
these costs, particularly resin, steel and aluminum; pricing and ability or
inability to sell scrap; international business risks (including foreign
exchange rates and tax rates) particularly in the United States, Europe and in
developing countries such as China and Brazil; and the effect of LIFO accounting
on earnings. Factors that may affect the aerospace segment are: funding,
authorization and availability of government contracts and the nature and
continuation of those contracts; and technical uncertainty associated with
aerospace segment contracts. Factors that could affect the company as a whole
include those listed plus: successful and unsuccessful acquisitions, joint
ventures or divestitures and the integration activities associated therewith
including the integration and operation of the business of Schmalbach-Lubeca AG,
now known as Ball Packaging Europe; the inability to purchase the company’s
common stock; insufficient or reduced cash flow; regulatory action or laws
including those related to corporate governance and financial reporting,
regulations and standards; actual and estimated business consolidation and
investment costs and the net realizable value of assets associated with these
activities; goodwill impairment; changes in generally accepted accounting
principles or their interpretation; litigation; antitrust, intellectual
property, consumer and other issues; strikes; boycotts; increases in various
employee benefits and labor costs, specifically pension, medical and health care
costs incurred in the countries in which Ball has operations; rates of return
projected and earned on assets of the company’s defined benefit retirement
plans; interest rates and level of company debt, including floating rate debt;
terrorist activities, war or catastrophic events that disrupt or impact
production, supply or pricing of the company’s goods and services, including raw
materials and energy costs, or disrupt or impact the credit and financing of the
company’s businesses; and U.S. and foreign economic conditions.

The Cryogenic Telescope Assembly, or CTA, built at Ball Aerospace, is the "eyes"
of SIRTF, with a lightweight telescope and cooling technology that allow it to
see the faint infrared light produced by young galaxies, brown dwarfs and other
cosmic objects. Image courtesy of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

SpaceRef staff editor.