Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has been selected by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to build the Global Precipitation Measurement-Microwave Imager (GMI) in support of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. Managed by NASA, GPM is a joint effort with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and other international partners to build a constellation of spacecraft to improve climate and weather predictions through more accurate and frequent precipitation measurements.

According to Ball Aerospace President and CEO Dave Taylor, “This is a strategic win for the company, since GMI builds on our heritage of successful microwave sensors, including the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-C), Geosat Follow On (GFO) and the Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite. Our robust microwave technology developments contribute to a vast data and knowledge stream for environmental missions.”

GMI will be integrated onto the GPM core spacecraft together with JAXA’s Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar. When operational, they will make radiometric and radar measurements of precipitation.

“The award of GMI positions Ball Aerospace as the critical U.S. microwave instrument supplier for GPM. Being part of GPM, a prototype for the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), is very exciting,” says Bill Townsend, vice president and general manager of Ball Aerospace’s civil space system.

As envisioned, GPM will consist of a core spacecraft to measure precipitation and to provide a calibration standard for an international constellation of spacecraft. When fully deployed, the constellation will provide comprehensive data to produce and distribute global rain maps and climate research products.

Ball Aerospace is also bidding on the satellite bus for this mission and has been working on a first phase study to develop the spacecraft design. Final selection by NASA is expected next year.

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL – News) is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products to the beverage and food industries. The company also owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., which develops sensors, spacecraft, systems and components for government and commercial markets. Ball employs more than 13,200 people worldwide and reported 2004 sales of $5.4 billion. The company is celebrating its 125th year in 2005.