Media Contact: Roz Brown or call 303-939-6146
Ball Aerospace-built Spacecraft Marks Eight Years of Ocean Monitoring
February 28, 2006
BOULDER, Colo. - The U.S. Navy recognized eight years of mission success on the Geodetic/Geophysical Follow-On (GFO) program which has provided critical oceanographic data to ships at sea and to oceanographic modeling centers across the country.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. built and tested the GFO spacecraft, which was launched Feb. 10, 1998 with a design life of eight years. The program was completed for a total on-orbit cost of $85 million which included development of the spacecraft, testing and launch. GFO will continue to provide support to NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and to many academic communities, in addition to critical naval operational support. The GFO program is operated by the Naval Satellite Operations Center in Point Mugu, Calif.
"Ball Aerospace is proud of its long history of exceptional on-orbit performance," says David L. Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. "GFO has proven that a low-cost mission can return highly valuable data for a variety of customer needs."
GFO measures sea surface heights, wind speeds and wave heights using its radar altimeter. This data supports submarine and mine detection and drift. The data also aids in ship routing and ocean circulation and currents analyses. In addition GFO returns data monitoring the effects on fleet safety of tropical cyclones and severe storms.
Prior to GFO, the Navy relied heavily on historical data and collected geodetic data through time-consuming and expensive ship surveys. Space-borne altimeters, which measure sea surface heights, wind speeds and wave height, provide a highly-efficient method for collecting the necessary information to support environmental predictions and to enhance war fighting capability. GFO's ocean observation precision can be measured within 3.5 centimeters, a standard that is critical both to naval planners and to oceanographers.
Ball Aerospace celebrates its 50 th year in business in 2006. The company began building pointing controls for military rockets in 1956, and later won a contract to build one of NASA's first spacecraft, the Orbiting Solar Observatory. Over the years, the company has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific 'firsts.' Ball Aerospace now develops spacecraft, payloads, systems and components for important national missions.
Ball Corporation is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products and owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., which develops sensors, spacecraft, systems and components for government and commercial customers. Ball reported 2005 sales of $5.7 billion and the company employs 13,100 people worldwide.
The information in this news release contains "forward-looking" statements and other statements concerning future events and financial performance. Words such as "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," and variations of same and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking 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 the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, especially in Exhibit 99.2 in the most recent Form 10-K. These filings are available at our Web site and at www.sec.gov . Factors that might affect our packaging segments include fluctuation in consumer and customer demand and preferences; availability and cost of raw materials, including due to the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as 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; fruit, vegetable and fishing yields; industry productive capacity and competitive activity; failure to achieve anticipated productivity improvements or production cost reductions, including those associated with our beverage can end project; the German mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; international business risks, including foreign exchange rates, tax rates and activities of foreign subsidiaries; and the effect of LIFO accounting on earnings. Factors that might affect aerospace segment include: funding, authorization and availability of government contracts and the nature and continuation of those contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts. Factors that could affect the company as a whole include those listed plus: acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental and workplace safety; governmental investigations; technological developments and innovations; goodwill impairment; antitrust, patent and other litigation; strikes; boycotts; labor cost changes; rates of return projected and earned on assets of the company's defined benefit retirement plans; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or management's evaluation of the company's internal control over financial reporting.