Ball Aerospace Satellites Provide Double-Coverage for NASA’s EPOXI Mission
BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ — The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft built by Ball Aerospace has captured an image of Comet Hartley 2, the comet that another of Ball’s spacecraft – the Deep Impact Flyby – is scheduled to image on November 4.
The Deep Impact mission accomplished its goal five years ago when the satellite’s Impactor separated from the Flyby spacecraft and collided with deep-space comet Tempel 1, excavating material from the nucleus of the comet. The encounter occurred nearly 83 million miles from Earth on July 4, 2005. The Deep Impact Flyby spacecraft used its two instruments to image the impact and with plenty of fuel onboard, has since been “recycled” to perform two additional missions – the Deep Impact eXtended Investigation (DIXI), and the Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization (EPOCh), together known as the EPOXI mission. The planet-hunting phase ended in mid-2008, but on November 4, the Flyby spacecraft is expected to capture imagery and spectra from Comet Hartley 2.
The WISE spacecraft launched in December 2009 to create a full sky, infrared map, including more than 150,000 asteroids and more than one hundred comets. The image captured by WISE of Comet Hartley 2 on May 10, 2010, provides the science team with a large-scale infrared picture that will show how the comet has changed in the past six months when compared to the image that will be taken on November 4.
The WISE image of Hartley-2 can be seen online at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/WISE/multimedia/gallery/pia13438.html
WISE ended its cryogenic portion of the mission in September, and began a new phase of its survey, called the NEOWISE Post-Cryogenic Mission, to focus primarily on finding additional asteroids and comets.
Ball Aerospace’s multi-decade legacy in cryogenically-cooled infrared systems was continued on WISE, based on other successful programs including the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, the Cosmic Background Explorer, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer for the Hubble Space Telescope.
Ball Aerospace designed and built the WISE spacecraft, led all satellite level testing and is supporting operations under contract to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). For the Deep Impact mission, Ball Aerospace teamed with scientists, engineers and mission designers from the University of Maryland and JPL to design the two Deep Impact spacecraft and science instruments.
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 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 14,000 people worldwide and reported 2009 sales of more than $7.3 billion including discontinued operations.
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SOURCE Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.