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NASA Extends Kepler Mission Through 2016

April 5, 2012

Ball Aerospace Kepler Photometer Continues Search for Habitable Planets

BOULDER, Colo.,– The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Kepler Mission for NASA will continue its mission following a program extension through 2016.

Ball Aerospace is the mission prime contractor for Kepler, designed to search for Earth-size planets around other stars. Ball Aerospace built the photometer and spacecraft, and managed system integration and test for the NASA Ames Research Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory-led Discovery class mission. Ball is currently managing on-orbit operation of the satellite for NASA Ames.

The extension will allow Kepler to continue its already successful search, four years past the original end-date of November 2012. The additional observation time means Kepler will be able to determine what fraction of stars host Earth-size planets in our galaxy. The extended mission will also allow Kepler to search for planets in longer period orbits, like Earth, in the habitable zones, the region in the planetary system where liquid water could exist. Kepler has identified more than 2,300 candidate planets and more than 900 are smaller than twice the size of Earth. Of the 46 planet candidates found in the habitable zone, 10 of these candidates are near-Earth-size.

“The Kepler mission has proven to be a terrific return on the nation’s investment and the extension will further our scientific understanding of other solar systems in our galaxy,” said Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for the Ball Aerospace Civil and Operational Space business unit.

The Kepler mission is the 2012 recipient of three awards from the aerospace community:

  • Space Foundation John L. “Jack” Swigert Award for Space Exploration 
  • Aviation Week & Space Technology Laureate Award for Space 
  • National Space Club Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for 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 information visit www.ballaerospace.com.

Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) is a supplier of high quality 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 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2011 sales of more than $8.6 billion. For the latest Ball news and for other company information, please visit http://www.ball.com.

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 on our website 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; 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; mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; political instability and sanctions; and changes in foreign exchange rates or tax rates. 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 recent global recession and its effects on liquidity, credit risk, asset values and the economy; successful or unsuccessful acquisitions; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including U.S. FDA and other actions affecting products filled in our containers, or 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; uncertainties surrounding the U.S. government budget and debt limit; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or other effects.

 

 

 

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