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Shuttle Astronauts to Install Ball Aerospace's COS and WFC3 Science Instruments aboard Hubble Space Telescope
October 31, 2006
The Wide Field Camera 3 is one of two science instruments built by Ball Aerospace to be installed on the Hubble Space Telescope during the 11-day STS-125 mission.
Boulder, Colo. – Ball Aerospace built the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), both of which will be installed by shuttle astronauts during the 2008 servicing mission. The mission will extend the operating life of the telescope until at least 2013, and greatly enhance its scientific capability.
“Ball Aerospace has made significant contributions to the Hubble program for 28 years,” said David L. Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. “We became still more invested in Hubble’s success in 1993 after engineers at Ball designed the optics that corrected the spherical aberration of Hubble's primary mirror. We take great pride in knowing that we have contributed a total of seven instruments to ‘the people’s telescope.’”
Both COS and WFC3 contain advanced technology sensors, which far surpass what has been available on Hubble to-date, and improvement factors of 10X-70X are expected in certain key performance areas. COS will be more than 30 times more sensitive in the far-ultraviolet than earlier Hubble ultraviolet spectrographs, and will be able to observe distant quasars too faint for detection by previous spectrographs.
WFC3 will be sensitive to wavelengths from the near-ultraviolet to the near-infrared spectrum. This broad range expands our ability to make new discoveries and to understand existing data about the universe and galaxies. Using a 4,000 x 4,000 pixel charged couple device detector with a large field of view, WFC3 provides images with less "background noise" than previous instruments.
The seven Hubble instruments built by Ball aerospace include: the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph, one of the original science instruments launched aboard HST; the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement, the supplemental optics installed into HST in 1993 that successfully corrected the spherical aberration of Hubble's primary mirror; the Near-infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer, one of two axial replacements installed in 1997; and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, the second of two axial replacements installed in 1997. The Advanced Camera for Surveys was installed during the March 2002 servicing mission.
In addition to its significant Hubble contributions, Ball Aerospace is the principal subcontractor for the Hubble follow-on mission – the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Ball’s contribution of advanced optical technology and lightweight mirror system lies at the heart of JWST. 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 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 Exhibit 99.2 in our Form 10-K, which 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; the effect of LIFO accounting; and any changes to such accounting. Factors that might affect our aerospace segment include: funding, authorization, availability and returns of government and commercial contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts. Factors that might affect the company as a whole include those listed plus: accounting changes; 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; pension changes; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or other effects.