Ball Aerospace Selected for NASA Astrophysics Medium Explorer Mission Study
September 13, 2022
BROOMFIELD, Colo., Sept. 13, 2022 — Ball Aerospace is part of a team selected by NASA to conduct a medium explorer Phase A study to survey cosmic explosions throughout the universe. Ball ’s role in the Survey and Time-domain Astrophysical Research Explorer (STAR-X) study is to provide the spacecraft and observatory integration and test.
STAR-X is one of two Mission Explorer missions that NASA selected for further study in August. The agency plans to select one in 2024 to proceed with implementation. The nine-month Phase A study is underway and is led by Dr. William Zhang at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). STAR-X will use two wavelength regions – X-ray and ultraviolet (UV) – to study astrophysical phenomenon. The agile observatory will have the ability to orient rapidly to capture rare and brief cosmic events, such as supernova explosions, that have an outsized impact on the Universe.
“We are part of a very strong team that is innovating on new ways to capture data on transient events that are complementary to other observatories, such as the Roman Space Telescope and the Vera Rubin Observatory,” said Dr. Alberto Conti, director of new business, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. “By having the ability to study rate transient events at multiple wavelengths, we’ll gain a better understanding of how stellar explosions fuel cosmic chemistry, how massive black holes form, and how the largest bound structures in the Universe were created.”
In addition to the Ball Aerospace-built spacecraft, STAR-X will consist of an X-ray telescope (XRT) provided by GSFC and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a UV telescope (UVT) provided by the University of Colorado.
The spacecraft will be based on the Ball Configurable Platform Small (BCP-Small), which has a broad spectrum of capabilities and is highly reliable with proven stability and pointing performance, which are essential for astrophysics missions such as STAR-X. The BCP-Small was the basis for NASA’s Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), a small explorer mission that launched in December 2021 to observe polarized X-rays from extreme objects, such as neutron stars, stellar and super massive black holes. Ball Aerospace is also utilizing the BCP-Small for NASA’s Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx).
Powered by endlessly curious people with an unwavering mission focus, Ball Aerospace pioneers discoveries that enable our customers to perform beyond expectation and protect what matters most. We create innovative space solutions, enable more accurate weather forecasts, drive insightful observations of our planet, deliver actionable data and intelligence, and ensure those who defend our freedom go forward bravely and return home safely. Go Beyond with Ball.® For more information, visit www.ball.com/aerospace or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
About Ball Corporation
Ball Corporation supplies innovative, sustainable aluminum packaging solutions for beverage, personal care and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 24,300 people worldwide and reported 2021 net sales of $13.8 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
This release contains "forward-looking" statements concerning future events and financial performance. Words such as "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "believes," and similar expressions typically identify forward-looking statements, which are generally any statements other than statements of historical fact. Such statements are based on current expectations or views of the future and are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied. You should therefore not place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements and they should be read in conjunction with, and qualified in their entirety by, the cautionary statements referenced below. 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 factors, risks and uncertainties that could cause actual outcomes and results to be different are summarized in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Exhibit 99 in our Form 10-K, which are available on our website and at www.sec.gov. Additional factors that might affect: a) our packaging segments include product capacity, supply, and demand constraints and fluctuations and changes in consumption patterns; availability/cost of raw materials, equipment, and logistics; competitive packaging, pricing and substitution; changes in climate and weather; footprint adjustments and other manufacturing changes, including the startup of new facilities and lines; failure to achieve synergies, productivity improvements or cost reductions; unfavorable mandatory deposit or packaging laws; customer and supplier consolidation; power and supply chain interruptions; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; inability to pass through increased costs; political instability and sanctions; currency controls; changes in foreign exchange or tax rates; and tariffs, trade actions, or other governmental actions, including business restrictions and shelter-in-place orders in any country or jurisdiction affecting goods produced by us or in our supply chain, including imported raw materials; b) our aerospace segment include funding, authorization, availability and returns of government and commercial contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts; c) the company as a whole include those listed above plus: the extent to which sustainability-related opportunities arise and can be capitalized upon; changes in senior management, succession, and the ability to attract and retain skilled labor; regulatory actions or issues including those related to tax, ESG reporting, competition, environmental, health and workplace safety, including U.S. FDA and other actions or public concerns affecting products filled in our containers, or chemicals or substances used in raw materials or in the manufacturing process; technological developments and innovations; the ability to manage cyber threats; litigation; strikes; disease; pandemic; labor cost changes; inflation; rates of return on assets of the company’s defined benefit retirement plans; pension changes; uncertainties surrounding geopolitical events and governmental policies, including policies, orders, and actions related to COVID-19; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and successful or unsuccessful joint ventures, acquisitions and divestitures, and their effects on our operating results and business generally.
# # #