Press Release

Ball Aerospace’s STPSat-3 to Fly Solar TIM Instrument for NOAA

By SpaceRef Editor
July 19, 2012
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Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. will integrate the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM), to fly aboard the STPSat-3 spacecraft built for the US Air Force (USAF). A cooperative agreement between NASA, NOAA and the USAF will allow the TIM instrument to catch a ride on STPSat-3 to be launched in 2013.

This TIM instrument was originally intended to fly as a space shuttle Hitchhiker payload as part of the University of Colorado, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP’s) SORCE program. The TIM Hitchhiker instrument will measure the Sun’s net energy output or total solar irradiance (TSI), continuing a 35-year climate data record that is a key component in understanding the Earth climate system.

The 2013 flight provides a continuity of measurements between the currently flying NASA SORCE program launched in January 2003, and the Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS) mission that is now part of NOAA’s JPSS program. Along with TSIS, the JPSS program incorporates a broad set of critical weather and climate measurements, and includes the nation’s next state-of-the-art civil polar weather satellite, JPSS-1, also being built by Ball Aerospace in preparation for a 2017 launch.

“This cost effective solution and rapid schedule will help to mitigate the potential gap left by the loss of the Glory mission in this critically important climate data record,” said David L. Taylor, President and CEO of Ball Aerospace. “The STPSat-3 was built in only 47 days, and demonstrated the outstanding flexibility of its standardized interface approach by accommodating additional payloads after the spacecraft was completed.” The TIM instrument will be one of five payloads on board the USAF STPSat-3 spacecraft when it launches aboard a Minotaur I in 2013. The launch will be part of the Operationally Responsive Space enabler launch mission (ORS-3).

The STP-SIV series of satellites built by Ball Aerospace successfully prove the concept of standard interface vehicles for the USAF Space and Missile Systems Center, Space Development & Test Directorate (SMC/SD). The first in the series, STPSat-2, launched on November 19, 2010. The STP-SIV standard interface supports a variety of experimental and risk reduction payloads at different low-Earth orbits, and is compatible with multiple launch vehicles.

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.