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Ball Aerospace Sensor Aboard 8th Landsat Satellite Snaps First Images

2013-03-21 12:40 ET - News Release

BOULDER, Colo., March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Operational Land Imager (OLI) aboard the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) has completed initial checkout and along with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center built Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) snapped the mission's first multispectral images.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130108/LA39163LOGO)

Link to the satellite's first images taken on March 18, 2013 of the intersection of the U.S. Great Plains and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming and Colorado. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/landsat/news/first-images-feature.html

The stunning images follow the launch of the LDCM spacecraft on February 11, 2013 from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. Ball Aerospace built the sophisticated OLI instrument and also provided the cryocooler for TIRS, which was built by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The two sensors will coincidently collect multispectral digital images of the global land surface including coastal regions, polar ice, islands, and the continental areas.

"Release of the first image from LDCM is a great step toward ensuring these improved instruments provide the nation with the most up-to-date understanding of changes taking place across the planet," said Robert D. Strain, Ball Aerospace chief operating officer and incoming president.

For the past 40 years, the Landsat series, managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, has provided vital management information on the use of land resources, such as food, water and forests. For example, data from Landsat helped forest managers determine best response methods and resource allocation for the mountain pine beetle infestation in the Rocky Mountain region. Triggered by an extended drought in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Landsat allowed forest managers to study changes in the ecosystem and identify areas where dead trees should be removed from recreation and camping areas to prevent wildfires.

Improvements expected from the newest LDCM include increased radiometric sensitivity and additional spectral bands. LDCM will observe a total of 11 spectral bands, compared with eight bands on Landsat 7. Also, LDCM is expected to return 400 images per day, compared to 250 images per day from Landsat 7.

"We are very proud that the advanced remote sensing technologies we've provided for the LDCM will nearly double data collected and returned to the U.S. Landsat archive," said Strain.

Instruments on earlier Landsat satellites employed scan mirrors to sweep the instrument fields of view across the surface swath width and transmit light to a few detectors. Ball's OLI instrument instead uses long detector arrays, with over 7,000 detectors per spectral band, aligned across its focal plane to view across the swath. This "push-broom" design results in a more sensitive instrument providing improved land surface information.

Described as "the best Landsat ever launched" by LDCM project scientist Jim Irons, the data will significantly expand Landsat's 40-year archive, the only system of its type with a mission to collect, archive and distribute data of all the Earth's land surface for use by  scientific, commercial and governmental agencies to understand the impact of global land changes. 

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. For more information, visit www.ballaerospace.com.

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) is a supplier of high quality packaging for beverage, food and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ nearly 15,000 people worldwide and reported 2011 sales of more than $8.7 billion. For the latest Ball news and for other company information, please visit http://www.ball.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains "forward-looking" statements concerning future events and financial performance. Words such as "expects," "anticipates, " "estimates" and similar expressions are intended to 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 99.2 in our Form 10-K, which are available on our website and at www.sec.gov. Factors that might affect our packaging segments include fluctuation in product demand and preferences; availability and cost of raw materials; competitive packaging availability, pricing and substitution; changes in climate and weather; crop yields; competitive activity; failure to achieve anticipated productivity improvements or production cost reductions; mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; political instability and sanctions; and changes in foreign exchange rates or tax rates. Factors that might affect our aerospace segment include: funding, authorization, availability and returns of government and commercial contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts. Factors that might affect the company as a whole include those listed plus: accounting changes; changes in senior management; the recent global recession and its effects on liquidity, credit risk, asset values and the economy; successful or unsuccessful acquisitions; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including U.S. FDA and other actions affecting products filled in our containers, or chemicals or substances used in raw materials or in the manufacturing process; governmental investigations; technological developments and innovations; goodwill impairment; antitrust, patent and other litigation; strikes; labor cost changes; rates of return projected and earned on assets of the company's defined benefit retirement plans; pension changes; uncertainties surrounding the U.S. government budget and debt limit; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or other effects.

SOURCE Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

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