Ball Aerospace assembles NPP satellite

BOULDER, Colo., 5 January 2005. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., has completed assembly and integration of the spacecraft for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP).

Spacecraft performance testing is completed, and environmental testing, including vibration and thermal vacuum, have begun.

NPP, the mission precursor for NPOESS, has a twofold purpose: it will provide data continuity between the Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra and Aqua missions and NPOESS, and provide technical risk reduction for NPOESS.

Under contract to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to provide the spacecraft, Ball Aerospace will deliver a modified Ball Aerospace Commercial Platform (BCP 2000), and perform integration of the government-furnished instruments and satellite-level testing. Ball Aerospace is also providing one of four instruments selected for the flight, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS).

"We are on target to meet NPP's aggressive schedule and cost profile with bus completion by March 2005, followed by instrument integration during the summer of 2005," said Don Hood, NPP program manager. "Our past experience in building the BCP 2000 has allowed us to successfully meet schedule and perform to expectations."

The BCP 2000 is part of a line of spacecraft built by Ball Aerospace that can accommodate Earth-sensing instrumentation requiring precision pointing control while maintaining the flexibility needed for rapid target selection. Several BCP 2000s are currently operating on-orbit, including NASA's Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT), ICESat, the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite and DigitalGlobe's Quickbird satellite. In addition, the Ball Aerospace-built bus will be employed on NASA's CloudSat satellite, scheduled to launch later this year.

OMPS is the next-generation ozone monitoring system designed to collect total column and vertical profile ozone data and continue the daily global data produced by the current ozone monitoring systems, the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet radiometer (SBUV)/2, built by Ball Aerospace for NOAA POES spacecraft and Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS), built by Ball Aerospace for Nimbus 7.

The NPP is a joint effort of the NPOESS Integrated Program Office, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA. Scheduled to launch in 2006, NPP will be in orbit prior to the expected end-of-life of EOS Aqua and provide overlap with the NPOESS spacecraft.

Ball Corporation is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products and innovative packaging solutions to the beverage and food industries. The company also owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., which develops sensors, spacecraft, systems and components for the government and commercial markets. Ball employs 13,100 people worldwide and reported 2003 sales of $4.9 billion. For more information, see www.ballaerospace.com.

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