BOULDER, CO /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has successfully completed a series of rigorous environmental and operational tests for NASA's Kepler mission to verify seamless operation of the system-level hardware and software.
The final testing included a formal simulation test, conducted by Ball and the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), to demonstrate readiness for launch and early on-orbit operations, including spacecraft attitude determination and control and initial checkout of the photometer. Operation of the spacecraft after launch will be performed by LASP at C.U. Boulder, with Ball providing system engineering and mission planning.
Ball Aerospace is the prime contractor for NASA's Kepler mission, building the photometer and spacecraft, as well as managing system integration and spacecraft testing. For Kepler, Ball employed its successes from pervious NASA missions, including the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, and Deep Impact.
"Ball Aerospace leveraged past performance achievements to ensure a successful outcome for the Kepler mission," said David L. Taylor, President and CEO of Ball Aerospace. "NASA's first search for extrasolar planets promises to be an innovative mission that will make us all proud of our involvement."
The Kepler planet-hunting mission will search for Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars to provide valuable insight about Earth's origin while also acting as a trailblazer for future searches for terrestrial planets. The Kepler mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, and NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. The Kepler spacecraft will undergo pre-ship review in December prior to being shipped to Cape Canaveral for an anticipated March launch.
Kepler is a NASA Discovery mission. In addition to being the home organization of the science principal investigator, NASA Ames Research Center is responsible for the ground system development, mission operations, and science data analysis. Kepler mission development is managed by JPL. Ball Aerospace is responsible for developing the Kepler flight system and supporting mission operations.
About Ball Aerospace & Technologies
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important 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. Since 1956, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific "firsts" and is a technology innovator in aerospace.
About Ball Corp.
Ball Corp. is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products for beverage, food, and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corp. and its subsidiaries employ more than 15,000 people worldwide and reported 2007 sales of $7.4 billion.