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Ball Aerospace Accelerates Focusing Techniques on the James Webb Space Telescope
December 5, 2005
BOULDER , Colo. –– Ball Aerospace engineers, under contract to Northrop Grumman Space Technology, are now accelerating the development of an optical testbed that will simulate the focusing characteristics of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Scheduled to be completed by year-end, the one-sixth scale model of JWST’s optical system is part of an effort to reduce risk in the program.
“The launch of this remarkable telescope is scheduled for 2013 but we are already applying our cutting-edge technology to the James Webb telescope,” says David L. Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. “JWST will be the first space-based observatory to use actively controlled, segmented mirrors and our testbed telescope is designed to allow us to test this extensively on the ground.”
The James Webb testbed telescope, housed at Ball Aerospace’s Boulder, Colo. facilities, will aid engineers in developing and simulating the telescope’s Wavefront Sensing and Control System used to align the mirrors in the optical system and provide fine-tuning of the focus. Actively controlled, segmented mirrors, like those found on the JWST, are the industry standard for large, ground-based telescopes. James Webb will be the first space-based telescope to use this segmented mirror architecture.
The optical system for the James Webb Space Telescope is unique in its large size and design. Ball Aerospace engineers designed the telescope’s large primary mirror so that it could be folded into sections to fit into the launch vehicle then deployed in orbit.
The James Webb Space Telescope was designed to study infrared light from objects that formed in the beginning of the universe. The telescope is expected to study objects up to 400 times more faint than any ground or space-based telescope.
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the James Webb Space Telescope, leading the design and development effort under contract to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. As the principal optical subcontractor on the program, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is responsible for the telescope’s sophisticated mirror system.
Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) is a supplier of metal and plastic packaging products, primarily for the beverage and food industries. The company also owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., which develops sensors, spacecraft, systems and components for government and commercial markets. Ball Corporation employs more than 13,500 people and reported 2004 sales of $5.4 billion.
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; 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 technical uncertainty associated with 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; goodwill impairment; antitrust 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.