Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., a unit of Ball Corporation ( BLL ), has been selected by Laser Light Communications, LLC (Laser Light) for its first global, all-optical commercial satellite system. Ball Aerospace will be the main contractor and will work for 15 months in a competitive process.
Radio frequencies (RFs) are usually used for long-distance linkage in space. However, the recent progress in optics and laser technologies, especially in fiber optics, offer various advantages such as smaller and lighter equipment, higher data rates, limited risk of interference with other communications systems, and the effective use of frequency resources.
Currently, the communication needs of Earth observation satellites are increasing steadily, resulting in demand for bandwidth growth. As per Cisco Systems, Inc.'s ( CSCO
) Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast, IP traffic will grow 2-fold from 2013 to 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 20% in the U.S. and will reach 37.0 Exabytes per month in 2018.
Space-based laser communications, using laser beams, provides a new way to move vast amounts of information around the globe efficiently and with greater resiliency. Reduced mass, power, volume of equipment and higher data rates are other advantages of laser communication.
Laser Light will be able to serve the high bandwidth data and next-generation service needs of carriers, enterprises and government agencies around the world based entirely on optical wave technology.
Ball Aerospace will be responsible for the first phase design analysis that will lead to completion of an eight-satellite constellation operating in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). Further, the full constellation of up to 12 satellites is expected to deliver 6 terabits of data per second with service speeds of 200 gigabits per second, bi-directionally. The contract will secure Ball Corporation's position in emerging laser communications technology.
Laser Lights system does not require a labor-intensive infrastructure and will be easily integrated with conventional ground service networks. The system will deliver the same bandwidth connections at lower operating costs and at a speed nearly 100 times faster than radio downlinks. It will also offer multiple downlink locations to eliminate slowdowns from network congestion, outages, or weather interruptions.
Ball Corporation's Aerospace & Technologies segment develops spacecraft, sensors and instruments, radio frequency systems and other advanced technologies for the civil, commercial and national security aerospace markets.
Ball Corporation has confirmed its expertise in state-of-the-art precision pointing, acquisition, and tracking, high-power optical amplifiers and high-bandwidth optical communications technologies. The company has designed and integrated complete laser terminals for a wide variety of user applications that covers airborne, spaceborne, terrestrial and ship-based missions.
Recently, Ball Corporation completed a risk reduction analysis for the Department of Defense Transformational Satellite program that examined secure, high data rate transfers for military communication satellites using optical terminals. In addition, Ball Corporation announced the successful launch of WorldView-3, the first multi-payload, super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite last month.
Broomfield, CO-based Ball Corporation is the largest manufacturer of beverage cans in North America. It also supplies aerospace as well as other technologies and services to the government and customers.
Ball Corporation carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Some other stocks worth considering in the same sector include Sealed Air Corporation ( SEE
) and Graphic Packaging Holding Co. ( GPK
). While Sealed Air Corporation sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Graphic Packaging holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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