Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has begun integration of the Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP).

NPOESS, a joint program between NASA and the Integrated Program Office, is the nation’s next generation low-Earth orbiting operational weather and climate monitoring system. The VIIRS sensor is the fourth of five weather instruments to be integrated onto the Ball Aerospace-designed and built NPP spacecraft bus. Instruments already integrated include the Ball-built Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite; the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder; and the Cloud and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System. The fifth instrument, the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) is scheduled to arrive at Ball Aerospace for integration later this year.

“Northrop Grumman and the IPO, and our customer, Goddard Space Flight Center, have worked long and hard to get to this point,” said Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for Ball’s Civil and Operational Space business unit. “Ball Aerospace looks forward to the critical integration of VIIRS, and CrIS later this year, then qualifying the entire observatory for launch. The anticipated delivery and integration of the final NPP flight instruments at Ball will result in several major program milestones by the end of 2010.”

VIIRS will collect visible and infrared imagery and radiometric data about the atmosphere, clouds, earth’s radiation, land/water surfaces, sea surface temperature, ocean color and other types of environmental data. Ball expects to complete integration of the VIIRS instrument by mid-February.
NASA and the NPOESS IPO have developed NPP as the mission precursor to the NPOESS mission, and to provide data continuity between the Earth Observing System Terra and Aqua missions. NPP will also provide risk reduction for the NPOESS program through early flight validation of critical NPOESS sensors.

Under contract to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Ball Aerospace employed a modified Ball Commercial Platform 2000 to accommodate NPP’s five instruments.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important 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

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging for beverage, food and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2009 sales of approximately $7.3 billion.