After a two year hiatus,
) Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft will
resume its near-Earth object asteroid hunting mission in
The WISE spacecraft will be reactivated with the goal of
discovering and characterizing near-Earth objects (NEOs) or space
rocks that can be found orbiting within 28 million miles (45
million kilometers) from Earth's path around the sun.
The WISE BCP-300 spacecraft bus was built by Ball Aerospace and
Technologies Corp., a subsidiary of Ball Corporation in Boulder,
CO, as per its contract with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Construction of the WISE telescope was divided between Ball
Aerospace & Technologies (spacecraft, operations support),
Rockwell Collins Inc.
) (focal planes) and
Lockheed Martin Corp.
) among others.
It was launched in December 2009. During its course of 10-month
operation, the spacecraft collected a vast storehouse of
information with far greater sensitivity than previous missions.
It performed an all-sky astronomical survey and collected more
than 2.7 million images taken at four infrared wavelengths of
light, capturing everything from nearby asteroids to distant
After the successful completion of WISE's primary science
mission, in Oct 2010, NASA extended the mission with a four-month
program called Near-Earth Object WISE (NEOWISE). The aim was to
look for asteroids and comets close to Earth's orbit. The
mission's discoveries of previously unknown objects included 21
comets, more than 34,000 asteroids in the main belt between Mars
and Jupiter, and 135 near-Earth objects. The spacecraft was
thereafter put into hibernation on Feb 1, 2011.
Ball Corporation is a manufacturer of metal and plastic
packaging, primarily for beverages and foods. It also supplies
aerospace and other technologies and services to government and
commercial customers through its subsidiary Ball Aerospace &
It 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
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The Aerospace and Technologies segment, accounted for 10% of
total sales in 2012 and 11% of total sales in the first half of
fiscal 2013. The segment had a backlog of more than $966 million
at the end of the quarter.
Ball Corporation will continue to benefit from product launches,
expansion into emerging markets and strong backlog in its
aerospace and technologies segment. However, loss of a customer,
weak economic condition in Europe and pricing pressure in China
will continue to be the headwinds.
During the second quarter, Ball Aerospace continued to diversify
its contract mix with a contract win from the Korea Aerospace
Research Institute (KARI) to build the Geostationary Environment
Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) for the National Institute of
Environmental Research in the Ministry of Environment of South
Korea. These will act as growth drivers for Ball Corporation in
the upcoming quarters.
Ball currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Sealed Air Corp.
), with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), is a favorable option for