Science at Ball Aerospace
Since the dawn of the space age, Ball Aerospace has contributed unparalleled technical innovation on behalf of the nation’s most critical missions. Partnering with scientists in the astrophysics, planetary, earth science and heliophysics communities, Ball has played a key role through all phases of mission development – from mission concept, to technology demonstration, to data delivery.
Ball Aerospace was founded by physicists from the University of Colorado who developed key technologies for accurately pointing sounding rockets. Since the company’s beginnings in 1956, many Ball engineers and scientists have been an integral part of science teams that design, build, test and fly instruments and spacecraft. Ball is often called “the scientists’ aerospace company” due to our innovative and collaborative culture.
- For the James Webb Space Telescope, our expertise in cryogenics enables the mirrors and actuators to operate at temperatures as low as -400 degrees Fahrenheit (33 K). Working with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, we developed wavefront sensing and control techniques to align the 18 mirror segments to an accuracy of less than 20 nanometers, a fraction of the width of a human hair.
- For the Kepler mission, we designed and built the largest telescope NASA has ever flown in space. Kepler made groundbreaking discoveries of planets orbiting around other stars and continues its exploration as the K2 mission.
- For the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, Ball designed, built and tested the spacecraft and conducted flight system testing and support operations.The primary mission completed in 2001 and was reactivated in 2013 as NEOWISE to search for near Earth objects.
- For the Hubble Space Telescope, Ball built a total of seven instruments, including COSTAR, the instrument that corrected the telescope’s flawed optics.
These missions build on a legacy of many scientific ‘firsts.’ From confirming the ozone hole, to discovering the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star, Ball Aerospace technology satisfies the most challenging science requirements.