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Ball Aerospace Ships James Webb Space Telescope Mirror Segments to Marshall Space Flight Center

January 6, 2010

BOULDER, Colo., Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has shipped five James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) beryllium primary mirror segments as well as the engineering development unit (EDU) to Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., for cryogenic temperature testing.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100106/LA33512)

Following completion of the six-mirror test in March 2010, nine of the 18 James Webb primary mirror segments will have successfully completed the first of two cryogenic temperature tests required for each mirror at Marshall’s X-Ray and Cryogenic Facility (XRCF). The first XRCF test measures distortion of each mirror surface as it cools from room temperature to the Webb telescope’s on-orbit operating temperature of approximately 45 K (-380 deg F). This surface distortion is mapped and subsequently removed in the final mirror polishing operations. The second XRCF test performed on each mirror will verify that the warm-to-cold surface distortion has been properly removed in final polishing.

Ball Aerospace is the principal optical subcontractor for the JWST program, led by prime contractor Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, under contract to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Ball is responsible for developing the telescope optics, including the 18 mirror beryllium segment assemblies that comprise the primary mirror. The primary mirror EDU was cryogenically tested for the first time at the Alabama facility earlier this year and returned to Ball’s polishing subcontractor, L-3 SSG-Tinsley, for final polishing. The other five mirrors at Marshall are being prepared for their first cryogenic test scheduled to begin in January 2010. All of the remaining JWST flight mirror segments are in various stages of assembly and test as the observatory continues toward a scheduled launch in 2014.

“We are pleased to continue steady progress for the Webb’s optical structure,” said Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for the Ball Aerospace Civil and Operational Space strategic business unit. “To meet these benchmarks in the methodical and exhaustive testing for JWST’s cryogenic design is very satisfying.”

The Webb’s 6.6-meter beryllium primary mirror is critical for future infrared observations. Each of the 18 hexagonal-shaped mirror assemblies that make up the primary mirror measures more than 1.3 meters across, and weighs approximately 40 kilograms, or 88 pounds, after light-weighting. The temperature testing process for all eighteen JWST primary mirror segments will continue through 2011.

In addition to the primary mirror assemblies, Ball Aerospace is making significant progress on the secondary, tertiary and fine steering mirror assemblies as well as the aft optics bench that supports the tertiary and fine steering mirrors in the telescope.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope 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 our solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important 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 metal and plastic 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 2008 sales of approximately $7.6 billion.

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 at our Web site 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; 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 current global recession and its effects on liquidity, credit risk, asset values and the economy; successful or unsuccessful acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures; integration of recently acquired businesses; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including in respect of climate change, 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; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or other effects.

SOURCE Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.


Source: newswire