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Press release from PR Newswire

Ball Aerospace and Aerojet Rocketdyne Complete Thruster Test for "Green" Spacecraft Fuel

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Ball Aerospace and Aerojet Rocketdyne Complete Thruster Test for "Green" Spacecraft Fuel

15:22 EDT Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Green Propellant Infusion Mission high-performance propellant on track for flight development

BOULDER, Colo., July 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ball Aerospace and Aerojet Rocketdyne have met the first milestone in demonstrating a more environmentally friendly spacecraft fuel by completing an end-to-end checkout of the 22 Newton thruster required for NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM).

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130709/LA44280)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130108/LA39163LOGO)

Ball is leading an industry and government team that will develop and fly the GPIM to demonstrate a high-performance, non-toxic fuel alternative to conventional hydrazine. This will bridge the gap between characterizing the functionality of an integrated propulsion system, and the technology development needed for eventual use of green propellant in space.

The milestone is significant because the 22 Newton thruster will fire simultaneously along with four smaller 1N thrusters to initiate orbit inclination changes and altitude changes. It is also critical for GPIM's eventual de-orbit upon mission completion.

"The successful first firing of the thruster proves we have the right technology for the mission and are on track for flight development," said Civil Space and Technologies Vice President and General Manager of Ball, Jim Oschmann.  "Ball and Aerojet Rocketdyne are demonstrating the innovation needed to develop a fully domestic green propellant solution for the next generation of space flight."

As the prime contractor and principal investigator, Ball collaborates with a team of co-investigators from Aerojet Rocketdyne, NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA Kennedy Space Center and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, with additional mission support from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirkland Air Force Base.

This is the first time the nation will use a spacecraft to test green propellant technology. The mission propellant, a Hydroxyl Ammonium Nitrate (HAN) fuel/oxidizer blend, or AF-M315E, offers nearly 50 percent better performance when compared to traditional hydrazine.  Green fuel alternatives also reduce environmental impact and operational hazards, improve launch processing capabilities, increase payload capacity, enhance spacecraft maneuverability and make longer duration missions possible.

"This thruster test is a crucial step toward infusing this green spacecraft propulsion technology into a wide range of government and commercial missions," said Roger Myers, Aerojet Rocketdyne executive director Electric Propulsion and Integrated Systems.  "Its applications are diverse and its impact on performance will make green propellant a leading choice for future space missions."

GPIM is a Technology Demonstration Mission under the leadership of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate.  The green propulsion system will fly aboard a Ball Configurable Platform (BCP) 100 spacecraft bus.

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. For more information, visit 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 15,000 people worldwide and reported 2012 sales of more than $8.7 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Forward-Looking StatementsThis 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 fluctuation in product demand; availability and 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; 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; successful or unsuccessful acquisitions and divestitures; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including U.S. FDA and other actions 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.

SOURCE Ball Aerospace

For further information: Media Contact, Roz Brown, 303-533-6059, rbrown@ball.com, or Mary Engola, 703-284-5417, mengola@ball.com

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