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Ball Aerospace HiRISE Camera Returns Stunning Images from Mars
September 29, 2006
The Ball Aerospace-built HiRISE camera shows the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on the surface of Mars.
Boulder, Colo. – A Ball Aerospace-built camera is returning the highest- resolution images of planet Mars from the largest telescopic instrument ever sent beyond Earth’s orbit. Positioned roughly 190 miles (300 kilometers) above the Red Planet, the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera flying aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) relayed its first low-altitude images on Friday, Sept. 29.
The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. HiRISE camera began its journey to Mars in August, 2005. The first images from HiRISE were returned in March of this year, when HiRISE was roughly 1,600 miles away from Mars (2,500 kilometers). MRO then began its aerobraking sequence to lower the spacecraft into its final orbit. The HiRISE camera is designed to image the surface at up to five times the resolution currently provided by the Mars Global Surveyor, identifying images as small as a coffee table. HiRISE is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson. (Images are available at http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu)
“Ball Aerospace has been contributing to NASA’s exploration of Mars since 1976,” said President and CEO David L. Taylor. “There’s tremendous anticipation in knowing that the Ball Aerospace-built camera is expected to return more science data than all previous Mars missions.”
Ball Aerospace is celebrating 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 for important national missions.
Ball Corporation is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products and owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Ball reported 2005 sales of $5.8 billion and employs 15,600 people.
This news 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 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; integration of recently acquired businesses; 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; changes to the company’s pension plans; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or other effects.