DARPA selects Ball Aerospace for interstellar navigation program

BROOMFIELD, Colo., 4 Nov. 2005. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to lead the Phase I development of its X-ray Source-based Navigation for Autonomous Position Determination (XNAV) program.

BROOMFIELD, Colo., 4 Nov. 2005. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to lead the Phase I development of its X-ray Source-based Navigation for Autonomous Position Determination (XNAV) program.

XNAV is designed to provide precision navigation of vehicles traveling in deep space within hundreds of meters. It is also designed to provide a GPS back-up for space systems such as low-earth orbiting spacecraft.

XNAV's Phase I is expected to determine the feasibility and viability of the use of celestial sources, including pulsars, for position, attitude and time determination of both deep space and spacecraft in low-earth orbit. Ball Aerospace will conduct research and development of an autonomous position, attitude and time determination system using celestial sources in the X-ray band of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The associate contractors selected by DARPA to join Ball Aerospace in Phase I include:
* Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL),
* the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), and
* the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

"We have a great collaborative team with LANL, APL and NIST," says Mike Cerneck, vice-president and general manager of Ball Aerospace defense operations group. "XNAV is a perfect match with Ball Aerospace's pointing and tracking technology base and fits our strategy of developing, demonstrating and deploying advanced technology systems."

Ball Corp. is a supplier of metal and plastic packaging products, primarily for the beverage and food industries. The company also owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., which develops sensors, spacecraft, systems and components for government and commercial markets. Ball Corporation employs more than 13,500 people and reported 2004 sales of $5.4 billion. For more information, see www.ballaerospace.com.

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