Ball

Aerospace

Ball Aerospace is known for its contributions in support of space and Earth science, exploration, national security and intelligence programs since 1956. We produce spacecraft, instruments and sensors, radio frequency and microwave technologies, laser remote sensing systems, data exploitation solutions, and a variety of advanced aerospace technologies and products that enable exciting missions.

In 2016, Ball systems measured key elements of the physical environment and supported environmental monitoring and operational weather forecasting programs, and provided environmental intelligence on weather, the Earth's climate system, precipitation, drought, air pollution, vegetation and biodiversity measurements. The data captured through Ball-built instruments and satellites enables an enhanced understanding of the Earth’s ecosystem and the stratospheric ozone layer, severe storm tracking, and search and rescue operations, and better enabling effective management of natural resources, including helping experts to make routine drought assessments and fire prevention plans.

Ball pioneered the development of the commercial remote sensing market, producing imaging systems and spacecraft to help spawn a new market-driven demand for imagery. For example, Ball built the trio of WorldView satellites for DigitalGlobe, offering the best high-resolution imagery data gathering capability. This imagery is used for civil government mapping, land-use planning, disaster relief, exploration, defense and intelligence, visualization and simulation environments, and navigation technology such as Google Maps.

Key scientific discoveries about the Earth's climate system and its effects on its citizens were spurred by measurements from Ball instruments and spacecraft. 
  • The company’s Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite, currently the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's primary polar-orbiting operational weather satellite, contributes vital information for national environmental forecasts, severe weather warnings, search and rescue operations, military contingency planning and environmental monitoring.
  • The Joint Polar Satellite System satellite, which is currently completing environmental testing for NASA and the NOAA, will take critical measurements of the atmosphere, ocean and land surface across the globe, and provide essential data for civil and military weather forecasting, storm tracking, and continuity of NASA's long-term environmental data record.
  • The company’s Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite is one of five instruments flying aboard the Suomi NPP and JPSS-1 satellite returning detailed information about the health of the Earth’s ozone layer—the shield that protects us from harmful levels of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Research has shown a direct link from decreased stratospheric ozone to increased skin cancer cases in the United States.
  • The Global Precipitation Measurement-Microwave Imager (GMI) supports the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, a joint effort between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to improve the understanding of tropical weather dynamics to improve tropical storm, weather and hydrological predictions by providing highly accurate precipitation measurements from space. NASA has designated GMI the on-orbit calibration standard for all microwave radiometers flying in the GPM constellation.    
  • The Ball Aerospace spectrometer for the Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution mission will, for the first time, make highly accurate hourly observations of pollution with high resolution over North America. These measurements will contribute to better understanding regional air quality and improved air quality forecasts. 
  • The Ball Aerospace Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer, built for South Korea, is designed to monitor pollution for the Korean peninsula and Asia-Pacific region. Hourly measurements of ozone and aerosols will improve early warnings for potentially dangerous pollution and hazardous air quality events.
  • Ball Aerospace designed and built the Operational Land Imager for the Landsat-8 and upcoming Landsat-9 missions managed by NASA and operated by the U.S. Geological Survey. Data from the Landsat series of satellites enable the nation to manage its natural resources effectively, including helping experts to make routine drought assessments and fire prevention plans; monitor land changes; plan land uses; and better understand the Earth’s ecosystem.
  • The company designed and developed a laser instrument to make vertically resolved wind observations throughout the atmosphere.  The World Meteorological Organization has identified this measurement as the most significant unmet observational need in the global observing system.  This Ball instrument was recently demonstrated from a NASA aircraft, and the results indicate that this technology has matured to the point where it is ready to be taken to space.  This Ball laser technology has roots in the Ball designed and built Calipso instrument, which NASA has been operating on-orbit for 11 years and has demonstrated Ball’s ability to successfully operate a space-based lidar system.
  • The high-spatial-resolution, multispectral satellite imagery from the Ball-built WorldView satellites is used for civil government mapping, land-use planning, disaster relief, exploration, defense and intelligence, visualization and simulation environments, and navigation technology such as Google Maps.
  • A Ball team is designing, building, and test flying NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) to demonstrate and test the capabilities of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit. The new propellant is less harmful to the environment, increases fuel efficiency, and diminishes operational hazards for aerospace workers. GPIM helps reduce emissions and use of resources.

FUELING NEXT GENERATION SPACECRAFT


Product stewardship for Ball Aerospace is not just about exciting missions that help us see farther, stay safer and preserve our planet. It is also about utilizing our unique expertise to pioneer solutions that no one else has imagined before. For example, we are leading a mission that will demonstrate a green alternative to conventional chemical propulsion systems for next-generation launch vehicles and spacecraft through the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM).

Led for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, Ball seeks to improve overall propellant efficiency while reducing the handling concerns associated with hydrazine, a highly toxic fuel. The space technology infusion mission also strives to optimize performance in new hardware, system and power solutions while ensuring the best value and the safest space missions possible.

Because the new propellant provides improved performance and volumetric efficiency compared to hydrazine, propellant tanks of the same volume can store more of it, resulting in a 50-percent increase in spacecraft maneuvering capability for a given volume. It also has a lower freezing point than hydrazine, requiring less spacecraft power to maintain the propellant temperature. These characteristics make it ideal for a wide range of emerging small, deep-space satellite missions.

GPIM is the primary mission to demonstrate a green monopropellant alternative to hydrazine. Everyone in the industry, from NASA to Ball’s industry partners to green propellant suppliers, is eager to see 10 years of American-led research and development realized with this spaceflight mission. GPIM is scheduled to launch in 2017.
Rob Strain Senior Vice President, Ball Corporation President, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
Internal Perspective

“Ball Aerospace is committed to sustainability because it is the right thing to do, and it aligns with the values and priorities of many of our customers and employees. Our sustainability efforts help us be more affordable in a competitive marketplace, attract and retain the best employees, and increase the value of our brand.

At Ball, our value of sustainability is reflected in how we work and in the work that we do. We develop groundbreaking and innovative spacecraft, sensors, systems and components that provide critical climate and environmental data to assist policy makers in decision making. Our technology helps scientists better understand our planet’s atmosphere, ice mass, oceans, clouds and wind that allows for precise mapping of the Earth.

We are currently developing two related environmental monitoring instruments for different customers. The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) mission for NASA will, for the first time, make accurate observations of pollution with high resolution and frequency over North America. The Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) is designed to collect similar data to monitor pollution for the Korean peninsula and Asia-Pacific region. We are developing GEMS for the Korean Aerospace Research Institute.

Ball also built the Operational Land Imager for the Landsat mission jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. Landsat data is used to manage natural resources effectively, including helping experts to make routine drought assessments and fire prevention plans; monitor land changes; plan land uses; and better understand the Earth’s ecosystem.”

 
- Rob Strain, Senior Vice President, Ball Corporation, President, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

Contact Ball

For more information

T: +1 303 460 4429
E: sustainability@ball.com