Ball Aerospace &
Technologies Corp. (BATC) has been awarded a $10.4 million contract
from the California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
for the design and development of a Stellar Reference Unit (SRU) for
the Outer Planets/Solar Probe Project.

The Stellar Reference Unit enables the Attitude Control Subsystem
aboard the spacecraft to provide sufficient image data for
simultaneous three-axis determination of spacecraft attitude by the
Space Flight Computer. The SRU consists of a baffle, optics, a Focal
Plane Array (FPA), FPA control electronics (analog), digital
electronics, a power converter, connectors and cables and an interface
to communicate with the Spacecraft Flight Computer.

This contract is a follow-on to a study contract that Ball
Aerospace began in May 1999 and features Ball Aerospace’s unique
design approach for a radiation hardened Stellar Reference Unit.
Deliverables include one engineering unit, one protoflight unit and
four flight units. The SRUs were slated to fly on the Pluto Kuiper
Express Mission in 2004 and the Europa Mission in 2007, but the Pluto
Kuiper Express has recently been deferred, so two of the flight units
are seeking utilization opportunities elsewhere. Europa is a moon of
Jupiter and has an extremely harsh radiation environment. Scientists
believe that its icy surface may cover a layer of liquid water.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. provides imaging and
communications products for commercial and government customers
worldwide and is a subsidiary of Ball Corporation , a
Fortune 500 company which had sales of $3.6 billion in 1999.