Ball Corporation Takes Delivery of CERES


Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., a unit of Ball Corporation (BLL), announced the arrival of The Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy Systems (:CERES) instrument on July 10. However, shares of Ball Corporation dipped 0.4% to close at $63.07 on July 11 given the concern that some of the segment’s projects have been put on hold or decision making is slow following the government spending cuts, which will remain a headwind for the segment.

CERES, built for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (:NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System (:JPSS), reached at Ball Corp. on Jun 17. CERES instruments, built by Northrop Grumman Corp’s (NOC) Aerospace Systems division, are the result of the successful Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (:ERBE). CERES measures the reflected sunlight and thermal radiation emitted by the Earth. CERES will also help in recognizing the effect of clouds on the energy balance.

Further, satellite data collected from CERES over the long-term will improve predictability of seasonal climate, including large-scale events like El Nino and La Nina. CERES will continue providing long-standing weather and climate measurements which are currently offered by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite.

Suomi NPP, launched in Oct 2011, is a partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (:NASA), NOAA and the Department of Defense. The mission is a bridge between NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites and NOAA's next-generation JPSS.

JPSS is presenting the first satellite, JPSS-1 in the series of next generation polar orbiting satellites. The JPSS-1 satellite bus was designed and built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., a unit of Ball Corp. On Sep 2010, Ball Corporation was awarded the contract for JPSS-1 from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on behalf of NOAA.

NOAA is responsible for the funding and requirements for JPSS and teams with NASA which procures the flight and portions of the ground segment. NOAA is also responsible for operations of the satellites and instruments after launch.

JPSS-1 will assist in recognizing and monitoring environmental conditions and also provide vital near-term weather data to meteorologists. JPSS-1 is scheduled for launch in early 2017. Integration of the satellite will begin later this year.

In addition to JPSS-1, Ball Corporation will manufacture the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument. Ball Corporation will also integrate all instruments and conduct satellite-level testing and launch support.

The integration of JPSS-1 will adjoin three additional instruments other than CERES. The devices include Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (:ATMS) and Visible/Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (:VIIRS) and are expected to arrive over the next 10 months.

Last month, Ball Corporation delivered the WorldView-3 satellite to a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. The satellite, built by Ball Aerospace in association with DigitalGlobe, will be launched through United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket in mid-Aug 2014.

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.

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 better-ranked stocks in the same sector include Crown Holdings Inc. (CCK) and Graphic Packaging Holding Co. (GPK). Each holding a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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