Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. announced today that the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite built for NASA successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 6:09:33 a.m. on board a Boeing Delta II rocket.

Ball Aerospace designed and built the WISE spacecraft, led all satellite level testing and is supporting operations under contract to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The WISE RS-300 spacecraft derives from the versatile, space-proven Ball Aerospace NextSat spacecraft built for the successful 2007 Orbital Express mission. The flight system has an estimated weight of 661 kilograms (1,433 pounds) and will fly at an altitude of 525 kilometers (326 miles). The spacecraft is three-axis stabilized, with body-fixed solar arrays and uses a high-gain antenna to transmit images to a geostationary satellite system.

The WISE mission is a NASA Explorers Program led by Dr. Edward Wright of the University of California, Los Angeles. WISE will survey the entire sky in infrared light to create a catalog of hundreds of millions of objects. The 10-month mission will measure more than 100,000 asteroids in the solar system, and identify hundreds of stars in the solar neighborhood that have not yet been seen – including perhaps those closet to the Sun. The data will create a map for future infrared missions, including the James Webb Space Telescope scheduled to launch in 2014, as well as NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes.

WISE is one of several cryogenically cooled infrared systems supported by Ball Aerospace. Other programs have included the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) for the Hubble Space Telescope.

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 2008 sales of approximately $7.6 billion.