Deep Impact Spacecraft and Impactor Begin Environmental Testing
March 29, 2004
The spacecraft pair that will give scientists their first up-close look at a comet entered the final testing phase before their launch scheduled for December 2004. The Flyby and Impactor spacecrafts for the Deep Impact mission will be joined in their final flight configuration to undergo thermal vacuum, vibration and acoustic testing. Despite this extensive on-earth testing, the Impactor spacecraft was designed to be vaporized upon impact with its target, the comet, Tempel 1. Both comet and spacecraft will be traveling at closing speeds of approximately 23,000 miles per hour upon impact.
During the Deep Impact mission, the Flyby spacecraft will release a smaller Impactor spacecraft that will collide with Tempel 1. Deep Impact's telescopes aboard the Flyby spacecraft will witness the impact and return data to Earth regarding the composition of the comet based on the ejecta created from the collision. The collision with the Impactor spacecraft will form a crater in the comet, about the size of a football stadium, and as deep as 14-stories. The collision is expected to occur on July 4, 2005.
The instruments onboard the Flyby spacecraft will return data on the pristine material in the crater and the material ejected by the impact. The High Resolution Imager aboard the Flyby spacecraft will be one of the largest interplanetary telescopes ever flown in order to record the details of the collision. The Impactor spacecraft will also provide close-encounter photos of the comet just prior to impact, giving scientists the most complete view of a comet to date.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in association with the University of Maryland and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is developing and integrating the Flyby Spacecraft, the Impactor Spacecraft, and science instruments, including two telescopes, two cameras and a spectrometer for analyzing the interior of the comet. Deep Impact is the eighth mission in NASA's Discovery Program, and the first mission to ever attempt impact with a comet nucleus in an effort to probe beneath its surface.
For more information about Deep Impact, please visit: http://www.ball.com/aerospace/deepimpact.html http://deepimpact.umd.edu/ http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/
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. Ball Corporation reported 2003 sales of $4.9 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-K filed by Ball Corporation on March 12, 2004, 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, particularly during the months when the demand for metal beverage cans is heaviest; product introductions; 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; technical uncertainty and schedule associated with contracts and the ability to invoice and collect accounts receivable related to contracts in the ordinary course of business. 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 Ball Packaging Europe; the number and timing of the purchases of the company's common shares; 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 and trends in various employee benefits and labor costs, including pension, medical and health care costs incurred in the countries in which Ball has operations; rates of return projected and earned on assets and discounts used to measure future obligations and expenses 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 Sarah Hoyt, +1-303-533-4945,
both of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.,