Encyclopedia Astronautica
Ball


American manufacturer of spacecraft. Ball Aerospace and Technology, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Founded in 1956, specializing originally in attitude control sensors for satellites.

AKA: Ball Space Systems.
Location: Boulder, Colorado.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • OSO American solar satellite. 9 launches, 1962.03.07 (OSO 1) to 1975.06.21 (OSO 8). The Orbiting Solar Observatories, developed for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, were designed primarily as stabilized platforms for solar-oriented scientific instruments. More...
  • Seasat American earth resources radar satellite. One launch, 1978.06.27. Seasat was the first satellite designed for remote sensing of the Earth's oceans with synthetic aperture radar (SAR). More...
  • SME American solar satellite. One launch, 1981.10.06. The Solar Mesosphere Explorer satellite was developed to investigate the processes that create and destroy ozone in the Earth's upper atmosphere. More...
  • ERBS American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1984.10.05. ERBS was part of the NASA's three-satellite Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), designed to investigate how energy from the Sun is absorbed and re-emitted by the Earth. More...
  • COBE American infrared astronomy satellite. One launch, 1989.11.18. More...
  • RME American military strategic defense satellite. One launch, 1990.02.14, USA 52. The Relay Mirror Experiment (RME) was launched as a dual payload with LACE. More...
  • GFO American earth resources radar satellite. One launch, 1998.02.10. GFO was a follow-on to the successful GEOSAT program which flew between 1985 and 1990. GFO was to provide real-time ocean topography data to 65 Navy users at sea and on shore. More...
  • QuikScat American earth sea satellite. One launch, 1999.06.20. Built under a NASA rapid delivery contract. Carried the SeaWinds scatterometer for remote sensing of ocean winds. More...
  • QuickBird American civilian surveillance satellite. One launch, 2001.10.18. The QuickBird commercial imaging satellite was owned by DigitalGlobe (formerly EarthWatch) and used a Ball BCP2000 bus with a launch mass of 1028 kg and a dry mass of about 995 kg. More...
  • Deep Impact American comet probe. One launch, 2005.01.12. Studied interior composition of Comet Tempel 1. The flyby spacecraft carried a smaller impactor which it released, allowing it to study the plume from the collision with the comet on 2005.07.04. More...
  • Cloudsat American earth weather satellite. One launch, 2006.04.28. More...
  • RS-300 American technology satellite bus, first launched 2007.03.09. Ball Aerospace's RS-300 was a small, low-cost spacecraft aimed at cost-capped principle investigator led missions for Earth or space science. More...

See also

Ball Chronology


1998 February 10 - . 13:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 576E. LV Family: Pegasus. Launch Vehicle: Taurus 2210. LV Configuration: Taurus 2210 T2.
  • GFO - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Manufacturer: Ball. Class: Earth. Type: Earth resources radar satellite. Spacecraft: GFO. USAF Sat Cat: 25157 . COSPAR: 1998-007A. Apogee: 788 km (489 mi). Perigee: 786 km (488 mi). Inclination: 108.1000 deg. Period: 100.60 min. Summary: Altimeter..

1999 June 20 - . 02:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2G. LV Configuration: Titan II SLV 23G-7 / M68B-75 / 63-7730.
  • QuikScat - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Manufacturer: Ball. Class: Earth. Type: Sea satellite. Spacecraft: QuikScat. USAF Sat Cat: 25789 . COSPAR: 1999-034A. Apogee: 802 km (498 mi). Perigee: 802 km (498 mi). Inclination: 98.6000 deg. Period: 100.90 min. NASA's QuikScat carried the SeaWinds scatterometer for remote sensing of ocean winds. The Titan 2ís second stage shut down at 02:20 GMT and then coasted to apogee still attached to the QuikScat. The Titan second stage vernier thrusters ignited at apogee to raise perigee, leaving QuikScat in a 280 km x 813 km x 98.7 degree parking orbit. The QuikScat's own hydrazine propulsion system then fired to raise the perigee over a period of weeks.

2000 November 20 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC132/1. LV Family: Kosmos 3. Launch Vehicle: Kosmos 11K65M. LV Configuration: Kosmos 11K65M 47165-631. FAILURE: Second stage failed to restart at apogee.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • QuickBird 1 - . Mass: 950 kg (2,090 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DigitalGlobe. Manufacturer: Ball. Class: Surveillance. Type: Civilian surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Early Bird. Decay Date: 2000-11-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 26617 . COSPAR: 2000-074A. Apogee: 614 km (381 mi). Perigee: 80 km (49 mi). Inclination: 65.7000 deg. Period: 91.49 min. The Kosmos-3M second stage entered an 81 x 614 km x 65.8 deg orbit but failed to restart at apogee, and reentered at the next perigee over Uruguay. The loss of the QuickBird 1 satellite was a heavy blow to EarthWatch Inc. QuickBird1 was a 1-m resolution commerical imaging satellite using a Ball Aerospace BCP-2000 bus. Their earlier satellite, EarlyBird, failed after a few days in orbit in December 1997. EarthWatch's rival, SpaceImaging, lost one satellite as well but its second Ikonos was operating in orbit.

2001 October 18 - . 18:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7320-10. LV Configuration: Delta 7320-10 D288.
  • QuickBird - . Payload: QuickBird 2. Mass: 980 kg (2,160 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DigitalGlobe. Manufacturer: Ball. Class: Surveillance. Type: Civilian surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: QuickBird. USAF Sat Cat: 26953 . COSPAR: 2001-047A. Apogee: 471 km (292 mi). Perigee: 471 km (292 mi). Inclination: 97.2000 deg. Period: 94.00 min. The QuickBird commercial imaging satellite was owned by DigitalGlobe (formerly EarthWatch) and used a Ball BCP2000 bus with a launch mass of 1028 kg and a dry mass of about 995 kg. The Delta upper stage entered a 185 x 472 km x 98.1 deg orbit at 1902 GMT. At 1948 GMT it reached apogee and fired again to deploy QuickBird into a 461 x 465 km x 97.2 deg orbit. The Delta then made a series of unusual depletion burns, lowering its perigee to 167 km and changing inclination to 108.9 deg.

    Quickbird 2 was to be operational after a few months of calibration and "ground-truth" checkouts to market high resolution images. The 1.0 tonne satellite was reported to be capable of images with a resolution as small as 0.6 meter, though the standard products were to be coarser. Unlike the comparable quality images from IKONOS images, some of which are currently marketed exclusively to the US military, all Quickbird 2 images may be available in the open market.


2003 January 13 - . 00:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7320-10. LV Configuration: Delta 7320-10 D294.
  • ICESat - . Payload: EOS-LAM. Mass: 1,000 kg (2,200 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Manufacturer: Ball. Class: Earth. Type: Sea satellite. Spacecraft: ICESat. Decay Date: 2010-08-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 27642 . COSPAR: 2003-002A. Apogee: 610 km (379 mi). Perigee: 593 km (368 mi). Inclination: 94.0089 deg. Period: 96.56 min. Summary: Oceanography, gravimetry, altimetry mission. Delayed from March 30, May 12, August 30, September 10, December 15 and 20, 2002; and Jan. 11 and 12, 2003..

2006 April 28 - . 10:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7420-XC. LV Configuration: Delta 7420-10C D314.
  • Cloudsat - . Mass: 848 kg (1,869 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF; CSA. Manufacturer: Ball. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: Cloudsat. USAF Sat Cat: 29107 . COSPAR: 2006-016A. Apogee: 704 km (437 mi). Perigee: 702 km (436 mi). Inclination: 98.2000 deg. Period: 98.80 min. Summary: Cloudsat carried a 94 GHz cloud profiling radar. Both the Cloudsat and Calipso satellites were in the A-train polar constellation, in the same orbit as the large Aqua and Aura satellites..

2007 March 9 - . 03:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401. LV Configuration: Atlas V 401 AV-013.
  • NextSat - . Mass: 250 kg (550 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Manufacturer: Ball. Class: Technology. Type: Rendezvous technology satellite. Spacecraft: RS-300. USAF Sat Cat: 30774 . COSPAR: 2007-006C. Apogee: 498 km (309 mi). Perigee: 491 km (305 mi). Inclination: 46.0000 deg. Period: 94.50 min. Summary: The passive satellite portion of DARPA's Orbital Express satellite servicing experiment. NextSat carried hydrazine for fluid transfer experiments, but no propulsion system. Attitude was controlled by momentum wheels supplemented by magnetic torquer rods..

2007 April 25 - . 20:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Point Arguello WADZ. Launch Pad: 36.0 N x 123.0 W. LV Family: Pegasus. Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL. LV Configuration: Pegasus XL F38.
  • AIM - . Mass: 150 kg (330 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; Hampton. Manufacturer: OSC; Ball. Spacecraft: RS-300. USAF Sat Cat: 31304 . COSPAR: 2007-015A. Apogee: 602 km (374 mi). Perigee: 584 km (362 mi). Inclination: 97.8000 deg. Period: 96.50 min. Summary: NASA Small Explorer mission, for Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere. AIM carried three scientific instruments to study polar mesospheric clouds: a solar occultation camera, an ultraviolet imager, and a cosmic dust experiment..

2010 September 30 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. LV Family: Minotaur. Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 4. LV Configuration: Minotaur IV.
  • USA 216 - . Payload: SBSS. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Manufacturer: Ball. Class: Surveillance. Type: Orbital object surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: BCP-2000. USAF Sat Cat: 37168 . COSPAR: 2010-048A. Apogee: 633 km (393 mi). Perigee: 632 km (392 mi). Inclination: 98.0000 deg. Period: 97.40 min. Summary: First Space-Based Surveillance Satellite; designed to track satellites and orbital junk from a space-based vantage point..

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