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Ball Aerospace Completes Series of Environmental Testing for WorldView-3 Remote Sensing Spacecraft

April 8, 2014

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Ball Aerospace technicians inspect a WorldView-3 solar array following completion of environmental tests for the commercial remote-sensing satellite scheduled to launch in August.

Mid-August Launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base Anticipated for Newest Addition to DigitalGlobe Constellation

 BOULDER, Colo., April 8, 2014 – Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has completed a series of environmental tests on WorldView-3, the next generation commercial remote-sensing satellite built for DigitalGlobe, a leading global provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions.

The satellite and its integrated sensors and electronics successfully completed thermal vacuum, acoustic, vibration, and pyro-separation testing to confirm the design integrity of the spacecraft. Electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility will complete on April 23.

“Successful completion of the major environmental testing is the latest example of Ball’s reputation for providing DigitalGlobe with the most agile, advanced platforms for remote-sensing,” said Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for Ball’s Operational Space business unit.

New to WorldView-3 is a Ball Aerospace-built atmospheric instrument called CAVIS, which stands for Cloud, Aerosol, water Vapor, Ice, Snow. CAVIS will monitor the atmosphere and provide correction data to improve WorldView-3's imagery when it images earth objects through haze, soot, dust or other obscurants. CAVIS has also been integrated with the spacecraft.

“The addition of a new Ball-built sensing instrument to WorldView-3 will enable the satellite to significantly improve the quality of some of the world’s most accurate images following the anticipated mid-August launch,” said Ludtke.

WorldView-3 is the first multi-payload, super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite for earth observations and advanced geospatial solutions. Operating at an expected altitude of 617 km, WorldView-3 collects imagery with 31 cm panchromatic resolution, 1.24 m multispectral resolution, 3.7 m short-wave infrared (SWIR) resolution, and 30 m CAVIS resolution. This level of resolution performance would be fundamentally impossible without the 1.1 m aperture telescope built by Exelis and carried by WorldView-3, which allows for a breadth of applications unmatched by smaller, lower-performance satellites. Currently, U.S. government restrictions require commercial satellite imagery provided to non-U.S. government customers be limited to no less than 50 cm panchromatic, 2.0 m multispectral, or 7.5 meter SWIR.

The range of customer applications enabled by the DigitalGlobe constellation is greatly expanded by WorldView-3’s ability to sense both the visible spectrum as well as deeper into the infrared spectrum. Its data-rich imagery will enable customers to search for new sources of minerals and fuels, manage forests and farms, and accelerate DigitalGlobe’s creation of Geospatial Big Data™ – a living inventory of the surface of the earth.

“With WorldView-3 heading closer to launch, we’re excited to continue moving the industry forward with unmatched capabilities and the most advanced commercial satellite constellation in existence,” said Dr. Walter Scott, executive vice president, chief technical officer and founder of DigitalGlobe. “Once WorldView-3 is operational, innovations like CAVIS and the SWIR bands will open up new frontiers of information and insight for customers who rely on DigitalGlobe as an indispensable source of information about our changing planet.”

By carrying forward the satellites’ advanced Control Moment Gyroscopes (CMGs), WorldView-3 builds upon WorldView-2 and WorldView-1 technology. The CMGs reorient a satellite over a desired collection area in 4-5 seconds, compared to 30-45 seconds needed for traditional reaction wheels.

WorldView-3 is built on the Ball Configurable Platform BCP 5000 spacecraft, designed to handle the next-generation optical and synthetic aperture radar remote sensing payloads. The performance of the WorldView-3 bus currently equals or exceeds that of its predecessor, WorldView-2. The high-performance BCP 5000 has a design life of more than seven years, and provides a platform with increased power, resolution, agility, target selection, flexibility, transmission capability and data storage. Ball provided the BCP 5000 under a fixed-price contract.

WorldView-3 is expected to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket in mid-August. WorldView-3 is the fifth satellite built by Ball Aerospace for DigitalGlobe and the fourth that will join the remote-sensing constellation.

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 http://www.ballaerospace.com/.

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2013 sales of $8.5 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

About DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe is a leading provider of commercial high-resolution earth observation and advanced geospatial solutions that help decision makers better understand our changing planet in order to save lives, resources and time. Sourced from the world's leading constellation, our imagery solutions deliver unmatched coverage and capacity to meet our customers' most demanding mission requirements. Each day customers in defense and intelligence, public safety, civil agencies, map making and analysis, environmental monitoring, oil and gas exploration, infrastructure management, navigation technology, and providers of location-based services depend on DigitalGlobe data, information, technology and expertise to gain actionable insight.


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