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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Ball Aerospace Wins NASA Earth Sensing Contracts

via PRNewswire

BOULDER, Colo. , May 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has been awarded two NASA contracts that support the agency's Science Mission Directorate 2007 Instrument Incubator Program (IIP) in developing Earth science instrument subsystem technologies. Ball will also participate in a third contract as co-investigators on a study led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Ball Aerospace technical manager and systems lead engineer for the CALIPSO mission, Carl Weimer , was awarded a contract as principal investigator on the Electronically Steerable Flash Lidar. The contract demonstrates that flash arrays can be used to profile vegetation canopies from space, designated for the proposed Deformation, Ecosystem Structure and Dynamics of Ice Mission.

Ball staff consultant, Christian Grund , was awarded a contract as principal investigator for Development and Demonstration of an Optical Autocovariance Direct Detection Wind Lidar (OAWL). Operating from a WB-57 aircraft, the program will demonstrate OAWL's viability to fulfill the needs of a direct detection wind mission, currently projected to measure global tropospheric wind profiles from Low Earth Orbit in the 2015 timeframe. According to NASA and NOAA, tropospheric wind measurement is critical to improve weather forecasts.

On the third winning effort, Ball Aerospace supported a JPL team led by William Folkner on the Laser Ranging Frequency Stabilization Subsystems for the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) - II Mission. As co-investigators, Ball principal engineers, Michelle Stephens and James Leitch will build and test the opto-mechanical assembly and test the laser stabilization subsystem.

The NASA IIP provides instrument and instrument subsystem technology developments to enable the National Research Council's Earth Science decadal survey mission. The program focuses on technologies that lead to future flight instruments that are smaller, less resource-intensive, less costly, and require less time to build. NASA reviewed 71 proposals for this technology solicitation before awarding 21 contracts.

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