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Ball Aerospace Selected for Deep Impact Study Missions

December 12, 2006

Boulder, Colo. – The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Deep Impact flyby spacecraft has been tapped by NASA to potentially make a still-greater impact. 

Ball Aerospace has been chosen for two NASA missions of opportunity, including the Deep Impact Extended Investigation or DIXI.  For the unique “recycling” mission, the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft would be used to return images of Comet Boethin in December 2008. Deep Impact completed its initial mission on July 4, 2005, when the flyby spacecraft released its impactor spacecraft to create the historic encounter with Comet Tempel 1.  The flyby then maneuvered away from the comet’s debris and has since been orbiting around the sun awaiting its next instructions. Ball Aerospace is teaming with Deep Impact principal investigator Mike A’Hearn from the University of Maryland and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the proposed mission.  The DIXI mission is designed to provide new information on how comets were formed and evolved.

The second mission of opportunity awarded by NASA is the Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization (EPOCh) mission, proposed by Ball Aerospace in conjunction the Goddard Space Flight Center.  That proposal would use Deep Impact’s High Resolution Imager to search for Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system.  EPOCh and DIXI would not interfere with one another because the EPOCh observations would take place before the spacecraft arrives at comet Boethin.

“These proposed, cost-effective science missions are possible because the Deep Impact mission was so successful,” said Ball Aerospace CEO and President, David L. Taylor.  “Both of the Ball Aerospace-built spacecraft performed exactly as anticipated which would allow NASA to use our flyby spacecraft for additional discoveries.”

Ball Aerospace has been awarded approximately $100,000of the concept studies as part of NASA’s Discovery program. If selected, Discovery missions cannot exceed $40 million each, including data analysis.   

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.

Forward-Looking Statements
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; and the effect of LIFO 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.

 

 

 

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