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Media Contact: Roz Brown or call 303-939-6146

United Launch Alliance, Ball Aerospace Interns to Launch 20-Foot Rocket, Payloads on Friday, July 24

July 21, 2009

Centennial, Colo., (July 21, 2009) – “The Future” will rocket into the Colorado sky this Friday, showcasing the collective ingenuity of some of the brightest young aerospace talent in the nation.

“The Future” is a 20-foot tall, 130-pound high-power rocket that will roar 4,000 feet into the sky on Friday, July 24, near Kiowa, Colo. Launch activity begins at 10 a.m. with three smaller rockets preceding “The Future” at 11:30 a.m.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. interns—the future of the aerospace industry—built the high-power rocket and 11 multi-faceted payloads this summer as part of their experience at their two respective companies. ULA provides world-class launch systems for the nation and employs more rocket scientists than any company in the world. ULA has 1,800 employees in Colorado. Ball Aerospace has approximately 2,100 Colorado employees who develop and manufacture spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications.
“We’re launching ‘the future’ in so many ways at ULA,” said Matt Smith, ULA’s vice president of engineering. “Our company launches missions that enable us to explore the universe and protect our nation.

“Our interns and young talent are our future, as well. The launch of ‘The Future’ high-power rocket is a great way to symbolize what we’re all about.”

The ULA interns, dubbed SPIRIT (Sky Piercing Intern Rock-It Team) built two rockets this year. In addition to “The Future,” “Boomer” is six-feet tall and weighs seven pounds. It is intended to reach an altitude of 10,000 feet, and may create a small sonic boom while going from zero to 850 m.p.h. in 1.5 seconds. The “Boomer” will launch at 11 a.m., followed by the main event, 20-foot rocket at 11:30 a.m. Two other high-power rockets are planned to be launched at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. as warm-up acts.

“Ball’s internship program remains a critical part of how we recruit and retain highly talented, knowledgeable and diverse employees,” said Doug Neam, vice president for engineering at Ball Aerospace. “The rocket launch project encourages the innovation and initiative we strive to foster at Ball.”

The Ball interns, known as BIRST (Ball Intern Rocket Scientist Team), are delivering 11 separate payloads for the 20-foot rocket launch, most of which will be ejected from the rocket and deploy their own parachutes. They include various environmental sensors, an egg drop contraption that simulates an Orion human landing system, more than 100 neon alien paratroopers, a deployable 3’ x 6’ Ball flag, a smoke grenade, an audio siren, a visual beacon, a video camera, an altimeter, and project patches for team members.

In addition to its formidable size, “The Future” features an all carbon fiber airframe, seven on-board computers, two video cameras, and has an engine that produces 900 lbs of thrust and is equivalent to more than 8000 model rocket engines. The rocket is expected to reach a top speed of 325 m.p.h.


About United Launch Alliance
Formed in 2006, ULA combines the successful Delta and Atlas expendable launch vehicle programs to offer cost-effective and reliable launch services to U.S. government customers, including the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other organizations. ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., Harlingen, Tex. and San Diego, Calif. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
For more information on the ULA joint venture, visit the ULA Web site at

About Ball Corporation
Ball Corporation is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging 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 14,000 people worldwide and reported 2008 sales of approximately $7.6 billion.

United Launch Alliance:
Chris Chavez, (303) 269-5550 (Office), (303) 332-6416 (Mobile)

Ball Aerospace:
Roz Brown, (303) 533-6059 (Office), (720)) 581-3135 (Mobile)





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