Kepler Mission Team Awarded Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Trophy
March 23, 2015
BOULDER, Colo., March 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has been recognized for its role in confirming the age-old hope that planets and planetary systems are ubiquitous in the universe.
Established in 1985, the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum presents its annual trophy to recognize both past and present achievements involving the management or execution of a scientific or technological project, a distinguished career of service in air and space technology, or a significant contribution in chronicling the history of air and space technology.
"Ball Aerospace is very proud to receive one of the Smithsonian Institution's most distinguished honors," said Ball Aerospace President, Robert D. Strain. "The Kepler mission launched a new era in astronomy and we continue to benefit by the extraordinary data being discovered in the pioneering search for exoplanets."
Kepler launched in 2009 and has since confirmed more than 1,000 planets around stars and collected evidence for thousands more that are awaiting confirmation. Kepler finished its primary mission in 2012 and began an extended mission. In 2013, the mission appeared to be over when two of four reaction wheels failed and the spacecraft lost its stability. The team, however, could not accept missing out on additional science discoveries from Kepler, and proposed the K2 mission to NASA, after Ball Aerospace developed an innovative way of recovering pointing stability by using solar pressure to control the spacecraft. K2 became operational in June 2014.
Ball Aerospace was the prime contractor for NASA's Kepler Mission, designed to search for rocky, Earth-sized planets around other stars. Ball designed and built the Kepler spacecraft, which includes the sensitive photometer used to find planets and operates Kepler for NASA.
NASA Ames Research Center is responsible for Kepler's mission concept, ground system development, science data analysis and K2 mission operations. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA's 10th Discovery Mission and was funded by the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. Ball continues to invest and innovate in affordable, high resolution imaging systems, contributing to the needs of civil, military and commercial customers. For more information, visit http://www.ballaerospace.com/.
Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food 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 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2014 sales of $8.6 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
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SOURCE Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.