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Ball Corp. Builds Structure for JPSS-1

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Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., a unit of Ball Corporation (BLL), has completed the primary bus structure of the first satellite in the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1). JPSS-1 will provide essential data for civil and military weather-forecasting, storm tracking and climate-monitoring.

The JPSS-1 satellite bus was designed and built by Ball Corp. as per its contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (:NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center. Ball will also manufacture the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument. In addition, the contract includes the integration of all instruments, execution of satellite-level testing and launch support. The instrument integration is set for Nov 2014.

Procured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (:NOAA), under NASA, JPSS-1 is scheduled for launch in early 2017. JPSS-1 will continue the observations which are currently offered by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite.

Suomi NPP, also built by Ball Corp., will be replaced by JPSS-1. Launched in 2011, Suomi NPP is the bridge between the Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites and the JPSS.

JPSS-1 is the first satellite in a series of next generation polar orbiting satellites, namely the Joint Polar Satellite System (:JPSS). JPSS comprises of various high-tech remote-sensing instruments which operating inside JPSS-1 will extend varied support to scientists. It will assist in recognizing and monitoring environmental conditions and also provide vital near-term weather data to meteorologists.

The data from JPSS-1 will give the National Weather Service (NWS) models for forecasts, three to seven days ahead of a severe weather event. This will also allow scientists to predict weather patterns with greater speed and accuracy, while giving forewarnings to emergency managers and the public.

Ball Corp., which belongs to the containers and packaging industry along with Crown Holdings Inc. (CCK), EveryWare Global, Inc. (EVRY) and Greif, Inc. (GEF), reported third-quarter 2013 total revenues of $2.28 billion, flat year over year. Revenues marginally exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.27 billion. However, sales for Ball Corp.’s Aerospace and Technologies segment declined 1% year over year to $217.5 million. Nevertheless, the segment will continue to benefit from strong backlog.

Ball Corp. retained its free cash flow guidance of $450 million for full-year 2013 after capital expenditures of roughly $400 million. The company expects net full-year share buyback to be around $400 million.

Broomfield, Colo.-based Ball Corp. is a manufacturer of metal and plastic packaging, primarily for beverages and food. It also supplies aerospace and other technologies and services to government and commercial customers.

Ball Corp. currently holds a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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