Ball Aerospace Supports NASA Astrophysics Mission Concepts

BOULDER, Colo., May 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has been selected to support seven NASA astrophysics strategic mission concept studies for its next generation of major space observatories. Ball Aerospace will support Principal Investigator (PI)-led studies representing a broad range of scientific objectives, from searching for and characterizing planets around nearby stars, to observing the formation and evolution of organic materials in space, to studying the formation and evolution of stars, black holes, galaxies and the structure of the universe.

Results from these studies will be presented to the next Decadal Survey conducted by the National Research Council, which advises NASA on priorities for funding of future missions. The seven study contracts include:

    --  The Astrobiology Space Infrared Explorer (ASPIRE) mission, led by PI
        Dr. Scott Sandford, NASA Ames Research Center, will study organic
        compounds in space in order to determine how they are formed, how they
        evolve, and how they find their way to planetary surfaces.
    --  The ExoPlanet Imaging Coronagraph (EPIC) mission, led by PI Dr. Mark
        Clampin, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will provide the first
        direct measurements of a broad range of fundamental physical
        characteristics of giant planets in other solar systems.
    --  The New Worlds Observer (NWO) mission, led by PI Dr. Webster Cash,
        University of Colorado, Boulder, will find planets, some Earth-like,
        that circle our neighboring stars, and will study their formation,
        evolution, surfaces, atmospheres, and chemistry that show signs of
        life.
    --  The eXo-Planet Characterization (XPC) mission, led by PI Dr. David
        Spergel, Princeton University, will detect extrasolar planets and find
        signs of life by measuring oxygen, ozone, methane, and water in their
        atmospheres.
    --  The Ultraviolet Space Observatory (USO) mission, led by PI Dr. Kenneth
        Sembach, Space Telescope Science Institute, will perform fundamental
        tests of cosmological theory, and will observe the intergalactic gas
        called the "cosmic web" to determine its impact on the formation of
        galaxies and stars.
    --  The Generation-X (Gen-X) mission, led by PI Dr. Roger Brissenden, the
        Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, is an X-ray telescope to study
        the formation and evolution of the very first black holes, stars and
        galaxies from when the universe was 200 million years old.
    --  The Advanced Technology Large Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAS-T), led
        by PI Dr. Marc Postman, Space Telescope Science Institute, is a
        candidate UV/optical space telescope mission with up to 45 times the
        collecting area of the Hubble Space Telescope, that will enable major
        advances in astrophysics and the search for life in the Galaxy.

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. For more than 50 years, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific 'firsts' and acts as a technology innovator for the aerospace market.

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) 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 Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 15,500 people worldwide and reported 2007 sales of $7.4 billion.

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 at our Web site and at http://www.sec.gov. Factors that might affect our packaging segments include fluctuation in product demand and preferences; availability and cost of raw materials, including recent significant increases in resin, steel, aluminum and energy costs, and the ability to pass such increases on to customers; 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, including our beverage can end project; mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; and changes in foreign exchange rates, tax rates and activities of foreign subsidiaries. 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; successful or unsuccessful acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures; integration of recently acquired businesses; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including in respect of 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; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or other effects.

Web site: http://www.ballaerospace.com/




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