Pointing & Tracking Mechanisms


Tactical Fast Steering Mirror

Ball Aerospace is an industry leading provider of micro-radian class optical line-of-sight pointing and tracking systems with proven successes for the most technologically challenging missions.

Our suite of qualified tactical electro-optical mechanisms include:

  • Electro-Optical Gimbals enable wide field of regard beam steering for pointing and tracking, while removing platform disturbances.

Motion Controllers

Motion Controllers

  • Fast Steering Mirrors provide agile and precise pointing, scanning, alignment and stabilization of optical lines of sight. Our Wide Angle Steering Mirrors provide a larger field of regard while maintaining the simplicity of the FSM. 
  • Motion Controllers provide state-of-the-art digital motion control with embedded algorithms and software for line-of-sight tracking, beam stabilization, and programmed scan patterns. Ball Aerospace controllers have the low noise performance of analog electronics with the adaptability of digital control.


Risley Prism Beam Steering

Risley Prism Pointing Assembly

  • Risley Prism Beam Steering Subsystems are the smallest and lightest mechanism that can steer a monochromatic beam over large angles. Unlike a typical gimbal, they can steer a beam over a 120 degree field of regard from an aircraft window only slightly larger than the prisms themselves.
  • We support this core competency with integrated modeling and simulation tools and specialized test and evaluation facilities. These state-of-the-art resources allow us to fully characterize and evaluate our components and subsystems to maximize reliability and optimize performance.

Pointing and Tracking Systems

We apply our electro-optical acquisition, pointing and tracking technologies to a variety of tactical military missions. These missions include targeting, optical communications and directed energy weapons, for which we provide  gimbals, steering mirrors, cameras, and pointing & tracking algorithms.



Beam alignment

Our Beam Alignment Stabilization System was instrumental in the success of the Tactical High Energy Laser Directed Energy Weapon.

Ball Aerospace provided the beam alignment and stabilization mechanisms and control algorithms which were instrumental in the success of the Tactical High Energy Laser demonstration program. We also developed Daylight Acquisition, Track and Illumination System (DATIS) where critical algorithms and hardware demonstrated the capability to track satellites in the daytime to microradian accuracies within 15 degrees of the sun.

We have pioneered developments in pointing and tracking to accommodate the unique requirements of airborne optical communication. Our more recent lasercom terminals bridged all optical segments of the government Transformational Communications Architecture (TCA) program. The Ball Aerospace family of optical communication products now includes Risley Prism-based terminals.  


Satellites & Spacecraft

BCP Family

Specialty Spacecraft

Instruments & Sensors

Electro-optical Sensors

Tactical Electro-Optical

Advanced Imaging

Cryogen Fuel Storage

Pointing & Tracking Mechanisms

Tactical Laser Applications

Technical Services

Antennas & Microwave Systems


Conformal Antennas

Low Observable Antennas

Phased Arrays

Reflector Antennas

RF Subsystems

Silhouette Antennas

Tactical Antennas

Aerospace Technology
& Components

Ball InfraRed Black Coating

Fast-steering Mirrors

Star Trackers

Laser Applications


Vac Kote Lubricants