by Staff Writers
Boulder CO (SPX) Dec 11, 2008
Ball Aerospace and Technologies has successfully completed a series of rigorous environmental and operational tests for NASA's Kepler mission to verify seamless operation of the system level hardware and software.
The final testing included a formal simulation test, conducted by Ball and the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), to demonstrate readiness for launch and early on-orbit operations including spacecraft attitude determination and control and initial checkout of the photometer.
Operation of the spacecraft after launch will be performed by LASP at C.U. Boulder, with Ball providing system engineering and mission planning.
Ball Aerospace is the prime contractor for NASA's Kepler mission, building the photometer and spacecraft, as well as managing system integration and spacecraft testing. For Kepler, Ball employed its successes from pervious NASA missions including the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, and Deep Impact.
"Ball Aerospace leveraged past performance achievements to ensure a successful outcome for the Kepler mission," said David L. Taylor, president and CEO of Ball Aerospace.
"NASA's first search for extrasolar planets promises to be an innovative mission that will make us all proud of our involvement."
The Kepler planet-hunting mission will search for Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars to provide valuable insight about Earth's origin while also acting as a trailblazer for future searches for terrestrial planets.
The Kepler mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The Kepler spacecraft will undergo pre-ship review in December prior to being shipped to Cape Canaveral for an anticipated March launch.
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