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Ball Aerospace Ships First James Webb Space Telescope Mirrors to NASA

September 19, 2012

BOULDER, Colo. – Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. began the process of shipping the finished NASA James Webb Space Telescope mirrors to Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., on Friday, September 14, 2012.

Ball Aerospace, under contract to Northrop Grumman, is responsible for the Webb’s optical technology and lightweight mirror system. Two of the 18 beryllium primary mirror segments that comprise NASA’s sophisticated Webb Telescope were shipped from Boulder in custom containers designed specifically for the multiple trips the mirrors made through eight U.S. states while completing their manufacturing. The remaining 16 mirrors will make their way from Boulder to Goddard over the next 12 months as they await telescope integration in 2015. The Webb is on track for an October 2018 liftoff.

“Ball and its subcontractors have spent eight years tackling the rigorous requirements associated with JWST’s optical design,” said David L. Taylor, president and CEO of Ball Aerospace.”We are very proud to have answered the challenge posed by James Webb and look forward to this ground-breaking NASA science mission.”

The Webb Telescope will be the first civilian space-based observatory to use an actively controlled, segmented mirror architecture. Each of the 18 hexagonal-shaped mirror assemblies that make up the 21.3-foot (6.5 m) primary mirror measures more than 1.3 meters across, and weighs approximately 40 kilograms, or 88 pounds, after light-weighting.

The Webb telescope is critical for future infrared observations. The Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade. It will study every phase in the history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of stellar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

The custom shipping containers for the mirrors are designed to maintain a consistent environment during travel between facilities. Each container is hermetically sealed to handle atmospheric pressure changes when the mirrors are shipped from high elevations like Boulder to other locations at or near sea level such as Greenbelt, Maryland.

In addition to the Webb Telescope, Ball Aerospace has played a significant role in astrophysics and planetary missions including Kepler, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, the Cosmic Background Explorer, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the upcoming Sentinel Mission.

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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