Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has successfully completed a series of rigorous environmental and operational tests for NASA's Kepler mission to verify seamless operation of the system level hardware and software.
The final testing included a formal simulation test, conducted by Ball and the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), to demonstrate readiness for launch and early on-orbit operations including spacecraft attitude determination and control and initial checkout of the photometer. Operation of the spacecraft after launch will be performed by LASP at C.U. Boulder, with Ball providing system engineering and mission planning.
Ball Aerospace is the prime contractor for NASA's Kepler mission, building the photometer and spacecraft, as well as managing system integration and spacecraft testing. For Kepler, Ball employed its successes from pervious NASA missions including the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, and Deep Impact.
"Ball Aerospace leveraged past performance achievements to ensure a successful outcome for the Kepler mission," said David L. Taylor, president and CEO of Ball Aerospace. "NASA's first search for extrasolar planets promises to be an innovative mission that will make us all proud of our involvement."
The Kepler planet-hunting mission will search for Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars to provide valuable insight about Earth's origin while also acting as a trailblazer for future searches for terrestrial planets. The Kepler mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The Kepler spacecraft will undergo pre-ship review in December prior to being shipped to Cape Canaveral for an anticipated March launch.
More information about the Kepler mission is available at http://kepler.nasa.gov/. More information about extrasolar planets and NASA's planet finding program is at http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov. Kepler is a NASA Discovery mission. In addition to being the home organization of the science principal investigator, NASA Ames Research Center is responsible for the ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. Kepler mission development is managed by JPL. Ball Aerospace is responsible for developing the Kepler flight system and supporting mission operations. 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. Since 1956, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific 'firsts' and is a technology innovator in aerospace.
Ball Aerospace is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products 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 15,000 people worldwide and reported 2007 sales of $7.4 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 www.sec.gov. Factors that might affect our packaging segments include fluctuation in product demand and preferences; availability and cost of raw materials, including recent significant increases in resin, steel, aluminum and energy costs, and the ability to pass such increases on to customers; 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.