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Ebbets presents "Small Landing Probes for In-Situ Characterization of Asteroids and Comets" poster at AAS

January 7, 2007

Click here for a high-res image.

Rendering of landing probe.

Boulder, Colo. - The 2007 American Astronomical Society's annual meeting in Seattle, Jan 5-10, will include a poster presentation depicting a small landing probe design developed by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. The poster will be presented by Dennis Ebbets, Senior Business Development Manager for Ball Aerospace's Space Science division in Boulder, CO, beginning at 9:20 a.m. (PST) on Jan. 7.

Led by Staff Consultant Richard Reinert and Ball's Deputy Director for Solar System Advanced Systems Rich Dissly, Ball Aerospace has a developed a landing probe design concept that would enable characterization of both the surface and interior of small solar system objects, such as asteroids and comets, as part of future space missions to such targets.

"The basic probe designed by Ball Aerospace could become a low-cost component of future missions that would enable a rich spectrum of in-situ investigations to a large number of target bodies," said Ebbets. "In many cases more than one probe may be desired to sample different regions or to work together as a network of sensors."

The probe design is roughly the size of a basketball, allowing for several to be carried by a rendezvous spacecraft and deployed individually. They are intended to survive a freefall to the surface, impacting with a velocity of only a few meters/second. Deployable panels on the nominally spherical body are designed to ensure self-righting to an operational orientation.

Each probe could accommodate a payload of several kilograms, optimized for its particular investigation. Candidates include imagers, accelerometers, X-Ray spectrometers, sample collection and examination mechanisms, and possibly pyrotechnic charges for seismic excitation or cratering experiments. The probe provides a standard suite of services such as battery power, data management and communications with the rendezvous spacecraft. Ball Aerospace is also studying options for mobility, such as "hopping", and for anchoring to the surface of a micro-gravity body.

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established in 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The basic objective of the AAS is to promote the advancement of astronomy and closely related branches of science.

Ball Corporation is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products and owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Ball reported 2005 sales of $5.8 billion and employs 15,600 people.

Forward-Looking Statements
The information in this news release contains "forward-looking" statements and other statements concerning future events and financial performance. Words such as "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," and variations of same and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking 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 the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, especially in Exhibit 99.2 in the most recent Form 10-K. These filings are available at our Web site and at www.sec.gov. Factors that might affect our packaging segments include fluctuation in consumer and customer demand and preferences; availability and cost of raw materials, including due to the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as recent significant increases in resin, steel, aluminum and energy costs, and the ability to pass such increases on to customers; competitive packaging availability, pricing and substitution; changes in climate and weather; fruit, vegetable and fishing yields; industry productive capacity and competitive activity; failure to achieve anticipated productivity improvements or production cost reductions, including those associated with our beverage can end project; the German mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; international business risks, including foreign exchange rates, tax rates and activities of foreign subsidiaries; and the effect of LIFO accounting on earnings. Factors that might affect aerospace segment include: funding, authorization and availability of government contracts and the nature and continuation of those contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts. Factors that could affect the company as a whole include those listed plus: acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental and workplace safety; governmental investigations; technological developments and innovations; goodwill impairment; antitrust, patent and other litigation; strikes; boycotts; labor cost changes; rates of return projected and earned on assets of the company's defined benefit retirement plans; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or management's evaluation of the company's internal control over financial reporting.

 

 

 

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