Ball Aerospace Begins Final Cryogenic Testing of Webb Telescope Flight Mirrors

April 15, 2011

BOULDER, Colo., April 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has delivered six of 18 James Webb Space Telescope mirror segments for cryogenic acceptance testing, to the Marshall Space Flight Center X-ray & Cryogenic Facility (XRCF), Huntsville, Ala.


The first full set of coated mirrors will be mounted to a fixture and undergo final cryogenic protoflight testing inside Marshall's XRCF chamber. Ball Aerospace engineers will initiate round-the-clock testing on April 15, which will continue for eight weeks. This is the first of three acceptance tests for the flight mirror assemblies. Ball will test a second set of six mirror assemblies at Marshall in July, and a final set of six in the fall of 2011.  

Watch: JWST mirror build at Ball Aerospace:

"The kickoff for the final cryogenic testing of the mirrors has been eight years in the making," said Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for the Ball Aerospace Civil and Operational Space strategic business unit. "This milestone speaks to the disciplined and painstaking approach successfully employed by the development team and partners."

In addition to the primary mirror assemblies, Ball Aerospace will deliver the secondary flight mirror assembly in October. Protoflight testing of the tertiary and fine steering mirror assemblies will be complete in July, and the aft optics bench will also be fully assembled by October.

Ball Aerospace is the principal optical subcontractor for the JWST program, led by prime contractor Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, under contract to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Ball is responsible for developing the telescope optics, including the 18 beryllium mirror segment assemblies that comprise the primary mirror. Each mirror segment measures 1.32 meters (4.3 ft.) in diameter to form the 6.5-meter diameter (21.3 ft.) hexagonal Webb telescope, critical for future infrared observations. Each of the 18 hexagonal-shaped mirror assemblies weighs approximately 40 kilograms( 88 pounds) after light-weighting.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important 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. For more information visit

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) is a supplier of high quality packaging for beverage, food and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2010 sales of more than $7.6 billion. For the latest Ball news and for other company information, please visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains "forward-looking" statements concerning future events and financial performance. Words such as "expects," "anticipates," "estimates" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. 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 risks and uncertainties are summarized in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Exhibit 99.2 in our Form 10-K, which are available on our website and at Factors that might affect our packaging segments include fluctuation in product demand and preferences; availability and cost of raw materials; competitive packaging availability, pricing and substitution; changes in climate and weather; crop yields; competitive activity; failure to achieve anticipated productivity improvements or production cost reductions; mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; and changes in foreign exchange rates or tax rates. Factors that might affect our aerospace segment include: funding, authorization, availability and returns of government and commercial contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts. Factors that might affect the company as a whole include those listed plus: accounting changes; changes in senior management; the current global recession and its effects on liquidity, credit risk, asset values and the economy; successful or unsuccessful acquisitions; integration of recently acquired businesses; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including U.S. FDA and other actions affecting products filled in our containers, or chemicals or substances used in raw materials or in the manufacturing process; governmental investigations; technological developments and innovations; goodwill impairment; antitrust, patent and other litigation; strikes; labor cost changes; rates of return projected and earned on assets of the company's defined benefit retirement plans; pension changes; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or other effects.

SOURCE Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.