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

Launching the "Future of Aerospace"

July 22, 2010

United Launch Alliance, Ball Aerospace Interns to Launch 25-Foot Rocket, Payloads, Saturday, July 24

Centennial, Colo. – A group of young aerospace talent will take “The Future” of the industry into their own hands as they blast high-power rockets deep into the Colorado sky Saturday morning.

In the third annual high-power rocket event, more than 70 interns from United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. will showcase their collective ingenuity with the launch of six high-power rockets and numerous payloads Saturday, July 24, from a launch site near Kiowa, Colo.

The “Future” is a 25-foot tall, 240-pound high-power rocket that will soar more than 10,000 feet into the air. The 2010 Future rocket is three times as powerful as the 2009 Future rocket and will be the largest rocket ever launched from the state. The interns also will launch the 17-foot Stars ‘n’ Stripes rocket. Launch preparations begin at 9 a.m., with the launch of the Future at 11 a.m., Stars ‘n’ Stripes at 12:30 p.m. and four smaller rockets throughout the morning.

Interns from both companies—representing the future of the aerospace industry—built the high-power rockets and a variety of multi-faceted payloads this summer as part of their experience at their 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.

“The launch of the ‘Future’ is symbolic in so many ways,” said Matt Smith, ULA’s vice president of engineering. “ULA launches missions that enable us to explore our universe, improve life on Earth and protect our nation, ensuring a brighter future for us all. These interns are the rocket scientists of tomorrow and thanks to their hard work and talent, they will continue this legacy for years to come.”

The Future and Stars ‘n’ Stripes rockets were built by ULA summer interns—dubbed SPIRIT (Sky Piercing Intern Rock-It Team)—in Denver, Colo., Decatur, Ala.,
and Cape Canaveral, Fla. This is the third year ULA interns have built and launched high-power rockets as a summer project and the first year with participation from intern at other ULA work locations. ULA’s high school interns and two teacher externs will also participate in launch activities. The payloads were built by summer interns from Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo.

“This is an outstanding accomplishment by both the ULA and the Ball Aerospace summer interns,” said Doug Neam, vice president for engineering at Ball Aerospace. “Ball has a legacy of supporting missions that have never been done before and often considered impossible and the interns embody that spirit of innovation and initiative. We applaud their creative talents in this endeavor.”

The Ball interns, known as BIRST (Ball Intern Rocket Scientist Team), are delivering 8 separate payloads for the two large rocket launches. They include, a radio-controlled airplane designed to fly back to the launch site and the “Kiowa Exploration Rover”, an all-terrain radio-controlled vehicle with on-board video, GPS navigation. It will be ejected from the rocket and descend under parachute and deploy an airbag for a cushioned landing. Other payloads will carry scientific instruments, various environmental sensors, video cameras, locating beacons, commemorative coins and more.

In addition to its formidable size, the Future features a hand-made carbon fiber composite airframe, four on-board computers, five video cameras and three engines that are comparable in power to more than 24,000 model rocket engines, and will carry six payloads. The Stars ‘n’ Stripes rocket features a unique retro-rocket system designed to fire in reverse to keep the rocket within FAA-imposed altitude limitations. It will carry two payloads. The Future will launch at 11 a.m. and the Stars ‘n’ Stripes will launch at 12:30 p.m.

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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:
Jill Altenhofen, (303) 269-5551 (Office), (720) 352-6874 (Mobile) 

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





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