ICESAT Spacecraft Checkout Complete
March 06, 2003
Commissioning of the Goddard Space Flight Center's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) was completed on Thursday, Feb. 20 with the successful first firing of its laser altimeter. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. built the ICESat spacecraft.
ICESat's sophisticated equipment has been checked out in a methodical progression monitored by the system's designers. Once the flawless performance of its satellite bus was established in January, ICESat moved to the instrument calibration orbit, and the elements of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) were turned on in sequence. GLAS is now recording ice height measurements and land elevations as it orbits the Earth every hour and a half.
"When the laser came on, it lit up a smile on the face of everyone associated with ICESat," said Zubin Emsley, the satellite's program manager for Ball Aerospace. "It's the culmination of years of effort by a talented and dedicated team, and puts a spectacular new instrument to work to understand environmental change."
The focus of the operations is now on fine-tuning and calibration of GLAS. Ball Aerospace will continue to operate ICESat throughout the mission as the focus of ICESat operations transitions to NASA and the science team. Calibrated on-orbit measurements are expected by early summer.
As part of NASA's Earth Observing System, the primary role of ICESat is to quantify the growth or retreat of the ice sheets covering Antarctica and Greenland over a five-year period. The mission is designed to answer questions concerning many related aspects of the Earth's climate system, including global climate change and changes in sea level.
The Ball Commercial Platform (BCP) 2000, built by Ball Aerospace for ICESat is specifically designed for remote-sensing missions, and was also used for the QuikSCAT and QuickBird missions. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center designed and built the GLAS for ICESat.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. provides remote sensing systems and solutions to the aerospace and defense markets. It is a subsidiary of Ball Corporation [NYSE: BLL] which in addition to owning Ball Aerospace is one of the leading suppliers of metal and plastic packaging to the beverage and food industries. Ball expects sales in 2003 of approximately $5.1 billion.
The information in this news release contains "forward-looking" statements. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those expressed or implied. As time passes, the relevance and accuracy of forward- looking statements contained in this release may change. The Company currently does not intend to update any particular forward-looking statement except, as it deems necessary at quarterly or annual release of earnings. Please refer to the Form 10-Q filed by Ball Corporation on November 14, 2002, for a summary of key risk factors that could affect actual results or outcomes. Factors that might affect the Packaging segments or business of the Company are: fluctuation in consumer and customer demand; competitive packaging material availability, pricing and substitution; the weather; fruit, vegetable and fishing yields; company and industry productive capacity and competitive activity; lack of productivity improvement or production cost reductions; regulatory action or laws, the German mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging legislation, such as recycling laws; availability and cost of raw materials, energy and transportation; the ability or inability to pass on to customers changes in these costs, particularly resin, steel and aluminum; pricing and ability or inability to sell scrap; and international business risks (including foreign exchange rates) particularly in the United States, Europe and in developing countries such as China and Brazil. Factors that may affect the Aerospace segment or business are: funding, authorization and availability of government contracts and the nature and continuation of those contracts; and technical uncertainty associated with Aerospace segment contracts. Factors that could affect the Company as a whole include those listed plus: successful and unsuccessful acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures and the integration activities associated therewith including the integration and operation of the business of Schmalbach-Lubeca AG, now known as Ball Packaging Europe; the inability to purchase the Company's common stock; regulatory action or laws including those related to corporate governance and financial reporting, regulations and standards, business consolidation investment costs and the net realizable value of assets associated with the Company's activities; goodwill impairment; changes in generally accepted accounting principles or their interpretation; litigation; antitrust, intellectual property, consumer and other issues; strikes; boycotts; increases in various employee benefits and labor costs, specifically pension, medical and health care costs incurred in the countries in which Ball has operations; rates of return projected and earned on assets of the company's defined benefit retirement plans; interest rates and level of company debt; terrorist activities, war or catastrophic events; and U.S. and foreign economic conditions.
SOURCE: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
CONTACT: Roz Brown, +1-303-939-6146, or Rachelle Wood, +1-303-939-6606,
both of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.,
Web site: http://www.ballaerospace.com/