Science at Ball

People, products and performance that Go Beyond®

Ball Aerospace plays a key role through all phases of science mission development – from concept to technology demonstration to data delivery – partnering with scientists in the astrophysics, planetary, earth science and heliophysics communities.

We were founded by physicists from the University of Colorado who developed key technologies for accurately pointing sounding rockets. Since our beginning in 1956, many of our engineers and scientists have been an integral part of science teams that design, build, test and fly instruments and spacecraft. We’re often called “the scientists’ aerospace company” because of our innovative and collaborative culture.

Pioneering Discoveries
Ball Aerospace is proud to have played a key role in a long list of scientific “firsts” throughout our history. From confirming the ozone hole, to discovering the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star, Ball technology makes the most challenging science missions possible. Some recent examples that add to our legacy include: 

For the James Webb Space Telescope, we designed the mirrors and actuators to operate at temperatures as low as -400 degrees F. (33 K), and our wavefront sensing and control technologies are engineered to align the 18 mirror segments to an accuracy of less than 20 nanometers, a fraction of the width of a human hair.

For the Kepler mission,
Ball designed a ultrasensitive photometer using 42 CCD’s. Kepler made ground-breaking discoveries of planets orbiting around other stars and continues its exploration as the K2 mission. 

For the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, we designed, built and tested the spacecraft and conducted flight system testing and support operations. The primary mission completed in 2011 and was reactivated in 2013 as NEOWISE to search for near Earth objects. 

For the Hubble Space Telescope, we built a total of seven science instruments, including COSTAR, the instrument that corrected the telescope’s flawed optics.