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CloudSat and CALIPSO Tandem Set to Launch

April 19, 2006

CALIPSO instrument final assembly, Ball Aerospace cleanroom

CloudSat solar arrays fully deployed, Ball Aerospace cleanroom

BOULDER, Colo. – Two Earth-observation missions, for which Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. contributed both a spacecraft bus and a LIDAR instrument, are scheduled to launch on Friday, April 21, 2006.  CloudSat and CALIPSO will launch aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket at 3:02 a.m. PDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.   

CloudSat and CALIPSO are designed to improve our understanding of Earth's weather, climate, and air quality by disclosing still-hidden characteristics of clouds and aerosols.

 “This launch is really a double header for us,” said David L. Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Ball Aerospace. “It's designed to revolutionize what we know about clouds, and our two-part role may contribute substantially in answering important environmental questions.”

Ball Aerospace, in cooperation with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Colorado State University, developed the CloudSat spacecraft bus, which houses the instruments and sensors for measuring the properties of clouds. Ball also completed testing, and integrated the payload for CloudSat, and will perform launch operations and initial on-orbit commissioning.  The spacecraft is designed around the proven Ball Commercial Platform (BCP) 2000, a spacecraft bus that can accept any type of Earth-sensing instrumentation that requires precise pointing control, with flexible and rapid target selection. The BCP 2000 has successfully flown on high-profile programs including QuickBird, QuikSCAT and ICESat. 

For its sister satellite, the Cloud-Aerosol LIDAR and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations satellite or CALIPSO, Ball Aerospace built the scientific instrument and communications suite that includes the LIDAR and wide-field camera.  The LIDAR is designed to scan the atmosphere with green and infrared laser light. A wide-field visible light camera and three-color infrared imaging radiometer is part of the LIDAR instrument to record additional information about clouds and aerosols. Scientists hope to use data from CALIPSO to construct three-dimensional models of the atmosphere that will improve our ability to predict future climate change.

Together, CloudSat and CALIPSO will be part of a constellation of satellites flying in orbital formation known as the “A-Train.” The constellation includes Aqua, Aura, and PARASOL, delivering a combined set of measurements of the Earth’s environment. The mission is part of NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program, which fosters innovative, low-cost Earth-observation missions designed to study the Earth as a global environmental system.

“A big part of our heritage includes instruments and spacecraft that are designed to study weather and the environment, which is a key focus in our current and future business,” said Taylor.

Ball Aerospace celebrates its 50th 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” and now acts as a technology innovator in 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 $5.8 billion and the company employs 15,600 people worldwide.

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains "forward-looking" 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. 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 in Exhibit 99.2 in our 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 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; changes in foreign exchange rates, tax rates and activities of foreign subsidiaries; and the effect of LIFO accounting. Factors that might affect our aerospace segment include: funding, authorization, availability and returns of government contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts. Factors that might 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; 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 other effects.

 

 

 

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