BOULDER, CO /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has successfully completed the critical design review (CDR) for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission that will provide an infrared map of the universe.
The CDR demonstrated satellite bus design maturity, validated cost and schedule documentation, and verified test requirements. Scientists and engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, the Space Dynamics Laboratory, and Ball Aerospace concluded that CDR criteria had been successfully met to proceed with spacecraft integration. The mission CDR will be held later this month, with software integration and test of the electro-mechanical avionics scheduled to begin in September.
The WISE RS-300 spacecraft derives from the Ball Aerospace NextSat spacecraft built for the successful Orbital Express mission launched on March 9, 2007. The flight system has an estimated mass of 560 Kg. (about 1175 lb.) and will fly at an altitude of about 313 miles. The spacecraft will be three-axis stabilized, with body-fixed solar arrays, and use a high-gain antenna to transmit to ground through the TDRSS geostationary system. In addition to building the spacecraft, Ball Aerospace will perform testing and flight system integration.
WISE has a four-channel, super-cooled infrared telescope that will reveal nearby cool stars, planetary "construction zones," and the brightest galaxies in the universe. Following its launch in 2009, WISE is designed to identify stars closest to the sun, detect main-belt asteroids larger than 3 km. in size, enable a wide variety of studies in star formation and galactic structures, and assist the James Webb Space Telescope program identify which objects to observe following its expected 2013 launch.
WISE is one of several cryogenically cooled infrared systems supported by Ball Aerospace. Other programs have included the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), the Cosmic Background Explorer, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer for the Hubble Space Telescope.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important national agencies, such as the Department of Defense, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 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. Over the past 50 years, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific 'firsts' and acts as a technology innovator for the aerospace market.
Ball Corp is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products for beverage, food, and household customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corp. and its subsidiaries employ more than 15,500 people worldwide and reported 2006 sales of $6.6 billion.