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NASA Extends Mission for Ball Aerospace-built ICESat
February 20, 2008
BOULDER, Colo., – Feb. 20, 2008 –The Ice, Cloud and Land Satellite (ICESat) built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. will continue operations until at least 2010 following a NASA mission extension contract.
ICESat, designed for a three-year lifetime with a five-year goal, was launched Jan. 12, 2003. The Ball Commercial Platform (BCP) 2000 employed for ICESat was built under contract to NASA’s Rapid Space Development Office (RSDO).
“The ICESat BCP has demonstrated that it can meet the demanding rigors of environmental and remote-sensing requirements and joins other Ball spacecraft in consistently exceeding lifetime minimum requirements,” said Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for Ball’s civil and commercial business unit.
ICESat has made significant contributions to the measurement of ice sheet elevation, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as land topography and vegetation characteristics. The mission provides multi-year elevation data needed to determine ice sheet mass balance and cloud property information, and provides topography and vegetation data from around the globe as well as polar-specific coverage over the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
ICESat began its fourteenth science campaign return on Saturday, Feb. 16, following calibration tests that further improve pointing. The mission currently collects laser returns for approximately 30 days at three- to six-month intervals. During each orbit, the spacecraft’s Geoscience Laser Altimeter, built by Goddard Space Flight Center, points at the same ground track as it passes over the polar regions and Greenland. The observing campaign also requires the spacecraft to point at approximately 10 targets of opportunity and return several ocean scans daily.
In addition to ICEsat, the Ball Aerospace’s QuikSCAT, and the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) spacecraft, were also RSDO procurements.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. 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. For more than 50 years, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific ‘firsts’ and acts as a technology innovator for the aerospace market.
Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products for beverage, food and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 15,500 people worldwide and reported 2007 sales of $7.4 billion.
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 product 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; competitive activity; failure to achieve anticipated productivity improvements or production cost reductions, including our beverage can end project; 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; changes in senior management; 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.