After about one year of inspection and environmental testing, Ball Corporation (BLL) has delivered the WorldView-3 satellite to a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. The WorldView-3, which has been built for DigitalGlobe, will be launched through United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket in mid-Aug 2014.
Ball Aerospace in association with DigitalGlobe has delivered advanced imaging satellites, including WorldView-2, WorldView-1 and QuickBird. Worldview-3 is based upon the WorldView-2 and WorldView-1 technology. It will carry forward the satellite's advanced control moment gyroscopes (CMGs). It will enable the WorldView satellites to collect large areas faster than competing satellites.
Worldview-3 is the third satellite in the series of Ball Commercial Platform (:BCP) 5000, especially designed for cost-effective remote sensing applications. The satellite is the first multi-payload, super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite for earth observations and advanced geospatial data. WorldView-3 is also a highly capable spacecraft based on a low-risk design.
Ball Corporation begun the integration phase for Worldview-3 in April 2013. The satellite having unique capacity to sense both the visible spectrum as well as the infrared spectrum will provide a rich dataset to DigitalGlobe.
DigitalGlobe, which is a leading provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions, will have the largest high resolution satellite imagery collection capacity in the industry with Worldview-3. DigitalGlobe constellation will also improve WorldView-3's ability to collect images which will permit customers to search for new sources of minerals and fuels in order to manage forests and farms. Moreover, the technology will precisely identify different manmade and natural materials.
In addition, WorldView-3 carries CAVIS (Clouds, Aerosol, water Vapor, Ice, and Snow). CAVIS is an atmospheric instrument built by Ball Aerospace which will provide correct data to WorldView-3 even if there is mist, aerosols or other atmospheric obscurants.
Finally, Ball Corporation completed the development, integration and testing of the next-generation WorldView-3 satellite. The spacecraft passed a full suite of environmental, functional and performance tests in preparation for integration with the launch vehicle, along with thorough pre-ship reviews by Ball Aerospace and DigitalGlobe.
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.
On Jun 19, 2014, the segment has been selected by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to build the optics and support structure, designated as the L1-L2 Lens Assembly, for the camera on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (:LSST), which will sit atop the 8,800 ft. tall Cerro Pachon mountain in Chile.
Further, the Aerospace & Technologies segment has recently successfully completed the tests of the final phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (:DARPA) Membrane Optic Imager Real-Time Exploitation (:MOIRE) telescope program.
Ball Corporation’s Aerospace and Technologies segment’s sales declined 1% in the third quarter and 9% in the fourth quarter. This compared unfavorably with the 15% and 8% increase in the first and second quarters of 2013, respectively.
Ball Corporation believes that there is growth potential in many of its segments. Though, the company indicated that some projects in the Aerospace and Technologies segment have been put on hold or decision making is slow following the government spending cuts. This will remain a headwind for the segment.
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 #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the same sector include Crown Holdings Inc. (CCK), Graphic Packaging Holding Co. (GPK) and Sonoco Products Co. (SON). All of these companies hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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