Ball Aerospace's SIRTF Cryogenic Telescope Assembly and Instruments Scheduled for Launch

April 03, 2003

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), carrying the Ball Aerospace cryogenic telescope assembly and two Ball-built science instruments, is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on April 18. SIRTF is the fourth and final mission in NASA's Great Observatories series. Ball Aerospace has had a significant role on all four of the Great Observatories.

SIRTF will observe objects from the outer solar system to the most luminous known galaxies in the farthest reaches of space. By studying the infrared thermal energy emitted by distant objects in the universe, astronomers will gain significant knowledge regarding the formation and evolution of the universe.

"With the launch of SIRTF, Ball Aerospace has come full-circle in providing remarkable, one-of-a-kind instruments for every NASA Great Observatory," said Jerry Chodil, vice president and general manager of Civil Space Systems for Ball Aerospace. "We have been a partner on the Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, including six instruments for its follow-on servicing missions, and also the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory launched in 1991, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory in 1999."

The innovative Cryogenic Telescope Assembly (CTA) system built by Ball Aerospace under contract to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory provides the low temperature of 1.4 K above absolute zero required for sensitive observations by the three instruments. "The CTA is the first-of-its kind and the most complex cryogenic system ever developed by Ball Aerospace," said Chodil.

Ball Aerospace also built SIRTF's Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) under contract to Cornell University and the Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS) for SIRTF under contract to the University of Arizona. The IRS breaks lights into its various wavelengths, much like a prism, to help astronomers study the composition of cosmic objects. MIPS is a far-infrared instrument capable of imaging photometry, high-resolution imaging, and scan mapping.

SIRTF's lifetime requirement is two-and-a-half years, with a goal of five years. As part of the NASA Origins program, SIRTF will further discoveries initiated by the previous three Great Observatories. It will also help prepare the scientific framework for future missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope, for which Ball Aerospace is the principal subcontractor to develop the telescope optical system.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. provides remote sensing systems and solutions to the aerospace and defense markets. It is a subsidiary of Ball Corporation which in addition to owning Ball Aerospace is one of the leading suppliers of metal and plastic packaging to the beverage and food industries. With the addition of Ball Packaging Europe, acquired in December 2002, Ball expects sales in 2003 of approximately $5.1 billion, $4.6 billion from its packaging segment and $500 million from its aerospace and technologies segment.

Forward-Looking Statements:

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 27, 2003, 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.

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SOURCE: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

CONTACT: Roz Brown, +1-303-939-6146, or Rachelle Wood, +1-303-939-6606,
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