Based on its consistent performance in delivering important weather data to users around the world, NASA has extended the on-orbit operations of the Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) satellite built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., for a fifth year.
Launched in 1999, the satellite completed its 20,000th orbit in early 2003. QuikSCAT has been measuring winds over approximately 90 percent of the ice-free ocean on a daily basis for four years -- two years beyond its anticipated mission. With the apparent loss of Midori-II, the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite, (Adeos-2) last month, the information collected by the QuikSCAT scatterometer regarding ocean-wind data is more important than ever.
"QuikSCAT continues to perform exceptionally well," said Chip Barnes, QuikSCAT program manager for Ball Aerospace. "It was the first in a line of spacecraft based on the Ball Commercial Platform 2000 (BCP 2000) that we anticipate to be equally effective and reliable."
Additional Ball Aerospace-built satellite busses based on the BCP 2000 design include: QuickBird, built for DigitalGlobe and launched in 2001; CloudSat, built for JPL under NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program, scheduled to launch in 2004; the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP), under construction for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the NPOESS Integrated Program Office slated to launch in 2006; and NextView, a next-generation, commercial high-resolution imaging satellite to be built for DigitalGlobe under its contract to the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.
QuikSCAT was the first satellite to use NASA's Rapid Spacecraft Acquisition procurement process. Ball Aerospace provided the spacecraft bus, launch interface systems, system integration, test and launch support. Ball Aerospace also performs mission operations with the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics as a subcontractor.
The QuikSCAT data is used operationally by the National Center for Environmental Prediction, a branch of the National Weather Service and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The use of the data in operational systems is the result of a cooperative effort among NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and European countries.
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 $4.9 billion, of which approximately $4.4 billion will come from its two packaging segments and $500 million from its aerospace and technologies segment.
Forward Looking Statement
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 Nov. 10, 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.
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