Ball Aerospace's LIDAR Test to Deliver Light Show in Boulder Skies
December 04, 2003
Boulder residents may see a brilliant beam of green light rising to the clouds as early as Saturday night. It is not a neighbor's Christmas lights gone awry or an alien landing, it is ground testing of a new space science instrument that will return data on the effect of aerosols in the atmosphere.
The Cloud-Aerosol LIDAR and Infrared Pathfinder Spaceborne Observations, or CALIPSO, will undergo ground-based testing of its powerful laser system at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo. in preparation for its 2005 launch. During this activity, a green laser beam will be visible in the night sky above Boulder. Depending on weather conditions, the green light from the beam may be visible as far away as Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.
Ball Aerospace worked with NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense and other agencies for more than three years to ensure the safety of this testing procedure. The light from the laser is safe to view from the ground. Aircraft will be diverted around the area to avoid the beam. The testing system is also equipped with a radar system that tracks aircraft and will shut down the system if aircraft are nearby.
CALIPSO is a space mission to improve and expand our understanding of aerosols, or particles, and clouds in the processes that govern our climate. CALIPSO data are expected to improve worldwide climate predictions and allow scientists to better understand how natural and man-made chemicals and other particles released in the Earth's atmosphere affect our overall environment.
One of the primary instruments for CALIPSO is the LIDAR, an acronym for light detection and ranging, describing systems that use a light beam in place of conventional microwave beams for atmospheric monitoring, tracking and detection. Once in orbit the LIDAR will beam a laser into the atmosphere and detect the reflected light energy from clouds and particles.
Ball Aerospace is responsible for the scientific instrument suite and the communications equipment for the CALIPSO program. The company will provide the LIDAR, which will probe the atmosphere with green and infrared laser light, and a wide-field visible light camera. The CALIPSO mission is led and managed by NASA's Langley Research Center and collaborates with the French space agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Hampton University and the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace in France. CALIPSO is scheduled for launch in 2004.
Ball Corporation is one of the world's leading suppliers of metal and plastic packaging to the beverage and food industries. The company also owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. With the addition of Ball Packaging Europe, acquired in December 2002, Ball expects to report 2003 sales of approximately $5 billion, of which approximately $4.5 billion will come from its two packaging segments and $500 million from its aerospace and technologies segment.
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 10, 2003, for a summary of key risk factors that could affect actual results or outcomes. Factors that might affect the packaging segments 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, including the German mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws and environmental and workplace safety regulations; 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; international business risks (including foreign exchange rates and tax rates) particularly in the United States, Europe and in developing countries such as China and Brazil; and the effect of LIFO accounting on earnings. Factors that may affect the aerospace segment 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; insufficient or reduced cash flow; regulatory action or laws including those related to corporate governance and financial reporting, regulations and standards; actual and estimated business consolidation and investment costs and the net realizable value of assets associated with these 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, including floating rate debt; terrorist activities, war or catastrophic events that disrupt or impact production, supply or pricing of the company's goods and services, including raw materials and energy costs, or disrupt or impact the credit and financing of the company's businesses; and U.S. and foreign economic conditions.
SOURCE: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
CONTACT: Emilia Reed, +1-303-939-6551, or after hours, +1-303-378-7181,
or Rachelle Wood, +1-303-939-6606, both of Ball Aerospace & Technologies
Web site: http://www.ballaerospace.com/