Ball Aerospace Hubble Space Telescope Science Instruments Shine a Light on the Universe's Origins for 25 Years

April 21, 2015

BOULDER, Colo., April 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, with seven instruments built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., celebrates 25 years of dramatic observations and discoveries on April 24, 2015.

One of the most productive scientific observatories ever built, Hubble was launched in 1990 and has dramatically changed humanity's understanding of the universe. Over the course of two decades, NASA astronauts flew the space shuttle 300 miles into space for five missions to install state-of-the-art instruments that return stunning images of the solar system and the farthest reaches of our universe. Today, all five of the working science instruments aboard Hubble are Ball instruments.

"Ball Aerospace and Hubble have traveled nearly four billion miles together to provide NASA with astronomical discoveries that have proven pivotal to our understanding of the universe," said Robert Strain, president of Ball Aerospace. "We're very proud to be part of such a historic and successful NASA mission."

Some of Hubble's most notable discoveries almost never happened due to a tiny flaw in its main mirror. Upon launch it was discovered the mirror was ground too flat by less than the width of a human hair, but just enough to throw off the focus. In 1993 astronauts installed a set of small mirrors that acted like a contact lens to clarify Hubble's vision. Once installed, Ball's Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) instrument, working alongside the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, fixed the Hubble's fuzzy vision.

Over the next 16 years, astronauts continued to deliver new instruments and make servicing repairs to Hubble. During the final servicing mission in 2009, astronauts installed the Ball-built Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC-3) and Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS). Astronauts also repaired and upgraded two instruments previously built by Ball: the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph and the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

WFC-3 and COS are equipped with the most advanced detector capabilities ever flown in space.  The camera has improved Hubble's ultraviolet imaging by a factor of 10 and added 30 times more coverage in near infrared wavelengths; the spectrometer explores the "cosmic web" to reveal new secrets about how and when distant stars and planets were formed. Additional instruments built for Hubble by Ball include the Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer and the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph.

NASA anticipates that Hubble will continue to provide new and unprecedented data until its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is launched in 2018. Ball Aerospace is the principal subcontractor for the Webb's advanced optical technology and lightweight mirror system. Ball has delivered the Webb's 18 primary mirror segments, plus the secondary, tertiary and fine steering mirror assemblies to Goddard Space Flight Center. Webb's primary mirror is more than twice the diameter of Hubble's and is designed to look still deeper into space to see the earliest stars and galaxies.

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

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, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Forward-Looking Statements 
This release contains "forward-looking" statements concerning future events and financial performance. Words such as "expects," "anticipates," "estimates" and similar expressions 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 in our Form 10-K, which are available on our website and at Factors that might affect: a) our packaging segments include product demand fluctuations; availability/cost of raw materials; competitive packaging, pricing and substitution; changes in climate and weather; crop yields; competitive activity; failure to achieve productivity improvements or cost  reductions; mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; customer and supplier consolidation, power and supply chain influence; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; political instability and sanctions; and changes in foreign exchange or tax rates; b) our aerospace segment include funding, authorization, availability and returns of government and commercial contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts; c) the company as a whole include those listed plus: changes in senior management; regulatory action or issues including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including U.S. FDA and other actions or public concerns affecting products filled in our containers, or chemicals or substances used in raw materials or in the manufacturing process; technological developments and innovations; litigation; strikes; labor cost changes; rates of return on assets of the company's defined benefit retirement plans; pension changes; uncertainties surrounding the U.S. government budget, sequestration and debt limit; reduced cash flow; ability to achieve cost-out initiatives; interest rates affecting our debt; and successful or unsuccessful acquisitions and divestitures, including, with respect to the proposed Rexam PLC acquisition, the effect of the announcement of the acquisition on our business relationships, operating results and business generally; the occurrence of any event or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of our definitive agreement with Rexam PLC in respect of the acquisition; the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against us related to the definitive agreement with Rexam PLC; and the failure to satisfy conditions to completion of the acquisition of Rexam PLC, including the receipt of all required regulatory approvals.



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