Ball Aerospace's Ralph Is Ready for Historic Pluto Flyby

BOULDER, Colo., July 1, 2015 — (PRNewswire) —  The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Ralph camera aboard the New Horizons mission will provide the closest images we have ever seen of Pluto when the spacecraft arrives at the dwarf planet on July 14.

Experience the interactive Multimedia News Release here: http://www.multivu.com/players/English/7530151-ball-aerospace-new-horizons-mission-pluto/

Ralph, the main "eyes" of New Horizon is designed to help scientists map the surface geology of Pluto and its moons, and investigate Kuiper Belt objects. The small but powerful Ralph weighs only 23 pounds and operates on approximately seven watts, the power of a standard night light. The entire telescope operates around 220 K (-60 degrees F) in the cold darkness of the outer solar system. After a journey of more than nine years, Ralph will capture the first ever close-up snapshots of Pluto when New Horizons passes within 7,000 miles of the tiny, icy dwarf planet.

"We know so little about Pluto that we expect the mission to help answer questions we haven't even thought to ask," said Jim Oschmann, vice president and general manager for Ball's Civil Space and Technology business unit. "The powerful digital imaging capabilities built into Ball's Ralph instrument will help reveal the mysterious worlds in the third zone of our solar system for the first time."

One of seven core instruments, Ralph is not an acronym, but instead is named after TV character Ralph Kramden of the 1950s sitcom, "The Honeymooners." A visible/near multi-spectral and short wavelength infrared spectral imager, Ralph – like the TV character – is paired with Alice, an ultraviolet imaging spectrometer that will help us learn more about Pluto's atmosphere.

Launched on the New Horizons spacecraft in 2006, Ralph consists of three panchromatic (black-and-white) and four color imagers with telescopic resolution 10 times better than the human eye. Ralph will take images twice daily as New Horizons approaches, flies past and then looks back at the Pluto system. Following its main objective to observe Pluto, New Horizons will continue cruising through space at about 35,000 miles per hour, passing through the Kuiper Belt where some 70,000 objects pepper the Kuiper Belt with potential observation targets.

At the time New Horizons was launched, scientists knew about one of Pluto's moons – Charon.

But using Hubble Space Telescope images taken with cameras built by Ball Aerospace, scientists have discovered four more: Nix, Hydra, Styx and Kerberos.

The New Horizons spacecraft was built for NASA by Southwest Research Institute and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.  The mission's principal investigator is SwRI's Alan Stern.

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. Ball continues to invest and innovate in affordable, high resolution imaging systems, contributing to the needs of civil, military and commercial customers.  For more information, visit http://www.ballaerospace.com/.

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2014 sales of $8.6 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Forward-Looking Statements
This release contains "forward-looking" statements concerning future events and financial performance. Words such as "expects," "anticipates," "estimates" and similar expressions 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 in our Form 10-K, which are available on our website and at www.sec.gov. Factors that might affect: a) our packaging segments include product demand fluctuations; availability/cost of raw materials; competitive packaging, pricing and substitution; changes in climate and weather; crop yields; competitive activity; failure to achieve productivity improvements or cost  reductions; mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; customer and supplier consolidation, power and supply chain influence; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; political instability and sanctions; and changes in foreign exchange or tax rates; b) our aerospace segment include funding, authorization, availability and returns of government and commercial contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts; c) the company as a whole include those listed plus: changes in senior management; regulatory action or issues including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including U.S. FDA and other actions or public concerns affecting products filled in our containers, or chemicals or substances used in raw materials or in the manufacturing process; technological developments and innovations; litigation; strikes; labor cost changes; rates of return on assets of the company's defined benefit retirement plans; pension changes; uncertainties surrounding the U.S. government budget, sequestration and debt limit; reduced cash flow; ability to achieve cost-out initiatives; interest rates affecting our debt; and successful or unsuccessful acquisitions and divestitures, including, with respect to the proposed Rexam PLC acquisition, the effect of the announcement of the acquisition on our business relationships, operating results and business generally; the occurrence of any event or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of our definitive agreement with Rexam PLC in respect of the acquisition; the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against us related to the definitive agreement with Rexam PLC; and the failure to satisfy conditions to completion of the acquisition of Rexam PLC, including the receipt of all required regulatory approvals.

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Ball Aerospace's Ralph camera on New Horizons to capture best pics of Pluto.

 

Ball engineer Rick Taylor examines a component of Ralph, the “eyes” of the New Horizons mission. Ralph’s suite of detectors will provide resolution 10 times better than the human eye.

 

 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ball-aerospaces-ralph-is-ready-for-historic-pluto-flyby-300107297.html

SOURCE Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

Contact:
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
NASA
Roz Brown, 303-939-6146
Email Contact
Web: http://www.ballaerospace.com




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