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Ball Aerospace Ships Tools for Hubble Servicing Mission 4 to Kennedy Space Flight Center
August 21, 2008
BOULDER, Colo., August 21, 2008 – Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has concluded shipping several fully assembled tools and 1,500 tool parts that comprise the Crew Aids and Tools (CAT) to be used by Space Shuttle Atlantis astronauts when they arrive at the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) for NASA’s servicing mission four (SM-4).
Ball Aerospace has spent more than six months producing the tool parts that will be used by astronauts during their five planned spacewalks for SM-4. The custom tools, shipped to Kennedy Space Flight Center, are of particular importance for repairs to the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) and the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) – two science instruments built by Ball Aerospace. The increased complexity of HST servicing missions since launch in 1990 have required development of unique, hand-operated tools to accommodate the telescope’s one-of-a-kind features and interfaces and compensate for the astronauts’ bulky, pressurized gloves and space suits. The challenging STIS repair, for example, required development of the “fastener capture plate” to be used by astronauts to remove and safely secure 111 fasteners that hold the electronics box cover in place.
“Ball is very proud of the challenging technical contributions it has made to Hubble the past 30 years, and especially those designed to return the telescope to the apex of its scientific capability,” said David L. Taylor, President and CEO of Ball Aerospace.
In addition to STIS and ACS repairs, astronauts will install two new, state-of-the-art science instruments also built by Ball: the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). WFC3 will provide ten-times better discovery efficiency in the near ultraviolet and about 30-times better discovery efficiency in the near-infrared. COS will be nearly 20 times more sensitive in the far-ultraviolet and will observe distant quasars too faint for previous spectrographs. Astronauts are also scheduled to install six batteries, six gyroscopes, and a Fine Guidance Sensor.
Following SM-4, all of the instruments on board Hubble will be Ball Aerospace-built. Over the history of Hubble, Ball Aerospace has built a total of seven instruments. In addition to WFC3, COS, STIS, and ACS , Ball built the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement instrument that corrected the telescope’s blurry vision for the 1993 servicing mission. Ball also built the Near-infrared camera and Multi-object Spectrometer and the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch on Oct. 8, 2008.
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. Since 1956, 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.
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 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, the current global credit squeeze, successful or unsuccessful acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures; integration of recently acquired businesses; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including in respect of chemicals or substances used in raw materials or in the manufacturing process; 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.