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, data exploitation solutions, and a variety of advanced aerospace technologies and products that enable exciting missions.

In 2014 and 2015, Ball supported environmental monitoring and forecasting programs, including weather, climate change, precipitation, drought, 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 ozone layer, supports weather forecasting, storm tracking and rescue operations, and supports 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. The WorldView-3 satellite launched in August 2014 and is the world’s first multi-spectral, high-resolution commercial earth-imaging satellite. Locked in orbit 400 miles above Earth, it takes unique images of our planet, some of which were released in 2015.

Key scientific discoveries about climate change and its effects on the Earth relied significantly on instruments and spacecraft built by Ball Aerospace.
  • The Joint Polar Satellite System satellite, which is currently being built for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will enable essential data for civil and military weather forecasting, storm tracking, and climate monitoring.
  • The company’s Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite contributes vital information for national forecasts, severe weather warnings, search and rescue operations, military contingency planning and environmental monitoring.
  • The company’s Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite is one of five instruments flying aboard the Suomi NPP 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.
  • The Global Precipitation Measurement-Microwave Imager supports the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, a joint effort between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to improve climate, weather and hydrological predictions by providing more accurate precipitation measurements from space.
  • The Ball Aerospace spectrometer for the Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution mission will, for the first time, make accurate observations of pollution with high resolution and frequency over North America.
  • 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 events and monitor long-term climate change.
  • Ball Aerospace designed and built the Operational Land Imager for the Landsat mission jointly managed by NASA and 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 developed a lidar technology instrument to study forest carbon and monitor the earth’s vegetation. When the instrument is flown over forested regions, scientists can estimate biomass and investigate biodiversity trends. Three-dimensional images from the laser system reveal the natural distribution of foliage and fuel for forest fires.
  • 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.
  • Specifically, Ball Aerospace is designing and building the Sentinel Infrared Space Telescope, which will identify 90 percent of the asteroids larger than 140 meters in Earth’s neighborhood, potentially helping protect billions from an Earth—asteroid collision.

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 researching and developing 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 key 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 late 2016.
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