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Kepler Mission Launches New Era of Astronomy
April 16, 2009
Boulder, Colo. – The Kepler mission has launched a new era of astronomy following release of “first light” images from the Ball Aerospace-built photometer.
“As the prime contractor, we are thrilled to know the Kepler Mission is poised to contribute to a new age of astronomy for NASA and scientists around the world,” said David L. Taylor, president and CEO of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. “This milestone brings us one step closer to discovering Earth-like planets in our galaxy.”
The NASA images can be seen online at:
Ball Aerospace built the Kepler photometer and spacecraft and managed system integration and spacecraft testing. The photometer has an exceptionally wide field of view which is required to monitor over 100,000 stars. It employs a 0.95 meter aperture, Schmidt telescope, with a 1.4-meter primary mirror. Ball Aerospace utilized its new 1.5 meter optical test capability for the first time to integrate and test the Kepler photometer, which features a focal plane array of 42 charge-coupled devices with more than 95 million pixels. Conveying the largest camera ever sent by NASA beyond Earth’s orbit, Kepler launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. on March 6, 2009.
The more than three-year Kepler mission will search a field of 100,000 plus stars for signs of planets in the habitable zone. The mission is expected to provide valuable insight about the origin of the Solar System while also acting as a trailblazer for future searches for terrestrial planets.
Kepler is a NASA Discovery mission. NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., is the home organization of the science principal investigator, and is also responsible for the ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Kepler mission development.
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 is a technology innovator in aerospace.
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 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2008 sales of more than $7.5 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, 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.