) subsidiary Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. has been chosen
by B612 Foundation, a nonprofit organization, to build a space
telescope that will scan the solar system for asteroids posing a
threat to Earth as well as build a satellite to transport it.
The telescope, known as the Sentinel, will cost several hundred
million dollars and is backed by the B612 Foundation, a nonprofit
organization, to protect the planet from an asteroid strike. This
will be the first privately launched and operated deep-space
mission. The project is slated for launch in 2017. It would be
operated by the Laboratory for Atmospheric & Space Physics at
the University of Colorado Boulder.
Ball Aerospace has been designing the Sentinel since 2004. It was
originally planned as a telescope that NASA would fund. The
Sentinel is designed to catalog the location and trajectory of
asteroids crossing Earth's orbit over a five and half year mission,
scanning space from a distance of 170 million miles from Earth in
an orbit similar to Venus.
It will also create the most detailed map of the solar system to
date between the Earth and Sun. The Sentinel should able to detect
90% of the asteroids which are least 460 feet in diameter or
larger, and about 50% of asteroids which are 130 feet in diameter.
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Ball's aerospace and technologies segment includes national defense
hardware; antenna and video component technologies; civil and
operational space hardware; and systems engineering services. The
segment develops spacecraft, sensors and instruments, radio
frequency systems and other advanced technologies for the civil,
commercial and national security aerospace markets.
The majority of the aerospace and technologies businesses work
under contracts, generally from one to five years in duration for
the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA) and other U.S. government agencies.
Contracts funded by the various agencies of the federal government
represented 87% of segment sales in 2011.
Aerospace & technologies contributed 9% to Ball Corporation's
revenues in 2011. The segment reported revenues of $785 million,
improving 10% year over year. During the first quarter of 2012,
Aerospace and technologies reported sales of $201.6, up 5% from
$191.2 million in 2011. Backlog at the end of the quarter was
$855.8 million. Strong program performance from 2011 continued into
Ball Corporation 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. It competes with
). The stock retains a quantitative Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold
rating) over the near term.