Specialty Spacecraft

Deep Impact 14

The Deep Impact spacecraft hurtles toward comet Tempel 1 while the Flyby spacecraft records the event.

For fifty years, Ball Aerospace has been customizing spacecraft systems to meet the needs of the space and science communities. Recognized as a leading resource because of the depth of our space hardware experience, Ball Aerospace is known for its reliability and high-performance, on-orbit track record.

Designed, built and tested at Ball Aerospace, Deep Impact’s unique design included a small spacecraft nested inside a larger, imaging spacecraft. During this unprecedented mission, both spacecraft launched in their nested position. Once on orbit, the smaller spacecraft was released from the larger spacecraft and placed in the path of the oncoming Tempel 1 comet. The larger Flyby spacecraft recorded images before, during and after the smaller Impactor’s now-famous collision with the comet. Both spacecraft performed flawlessly and the Flyby, still in excellent condition, is expected to perform a follow-on mission.

For the Orbital Express program, Ball Aerospace employed architecture adapted from the Deep Impact Impactor, including software, command and data handling, and power control, as well as elements from BCP 2000 spacecraft, such as the narrow-band telecom architecture from CloudSat.

Ball Aerospace has designed, built and tested nearly 25 successful spacecraft in 50 years because of the company’s ability to modify and improve flight-proven designs.


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