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Ball Aerospace Further Advances Manufacturing on James Webb Space Telescope
March 21, 2007
Boulder, Colo. – Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and its subcontractors have advanced development on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) by delivering the telescope’s secondary mirror segment for grinding and polishing.
The beryllium secondary mirror segment will collect light from the telescope’s 6.5-meter primary mirror. It was delivered to Ball Aerospace subcontractor L-3 Communications SSG-Tinsley, from subcontractor, Axsys Technologies, Inc. This follows the February delivery to Axsys of the final segment of JWST’s primary mirror, one of 18-segments that will also undergo grinding and polishing. Assembly of the telescope’s structural components by Ball Aerospace will follow grinding and polishing of the optical surface.
“Ball Aerospace and its subcontractors continue to meet the intricate, yet rigorous requirements associated with JWST’s optical design,” said David L. Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Ball Aerospace. “Our company’s long involvement in building instruments for space telescopes contributes to the program’s consistent on-schedule progress.”
The circular-shaped secondary mirror segment is 0.74 meters in size, and weighs approximately 8.5 kilograms or only 19 pounds after light-weighting. Early in JWST’s design, the metal beryllium was chosen to achieve JWST’s light weight, as it is also good at holding its shape across a range of temperatures, and has a successful track record of performing on space telescopes at cryogenic temperatures, needed for JWST’s infrared observations.
Ball Aerospace is the principal optical subcontractor for the JWST program, led by prime contractor Northrop Grumman Space Technology, under a contract from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, MD. A tertiary mirror, plus flight spares, will be delivered to Ball Aerospace from its mirror manufacturing team that includes Brush Wellman, Axsys Technologies and L-3 Communications. As each mirror is delivered to Ball Aerospace over the next four years, it will be mounted onto a lightweight, actuated strong-back assembly and undergo functional and environmental testing.
JWST is designed primarily to detect light from the first stars and galaxies that formed in the early Universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Launch is scheduled for 2013.
Ball Aerospace supports critical missions of important national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. Over the past 50 years, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific “firsts” and now acts as a technology innovator for the aerospace market.
Ball Corporation is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products and owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Ball reported 2006 sales of $6.6 billion and employs 15,500 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; crop 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; and changes in foreign exchange rates, tax rates and activities of foreign subsidiaries. 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; successful or unsuccessful 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.