Space Newsfeed


Ball Aerospace supports Preliminary Design Review for NASA's SPHEREx mission

(9 December 2020 - Ball Aerospace) Ball Aerospace supported the completion of the preliminary design review (PDR) for NASA's Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx).

With PDR complete, the SPHEREx project will proceed toward critical design review and the project team will now complete the Key Decision Point C process in coordination with NASA prior to beginning the implementation phase.

Ball is responsible for building the spacecraft and telescope as well as system integration and test, support for integration of the spacecraft onto a launch vehicle and commissioning of the spacecraft after launch.

"This latest program milestone is an important step forward in realizing NASA's mission to peer into the history of the universe," said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. "Ball has a long heritage of delivering new and innovative solutions for tomorrow's science questions, partnering with our customers and the science community to provide science at any scale."

The SPHEREx mission will study the nature of physics that drove cosmic inflation in the early universe; determine the properties of interstellar ices, a key reservoir for water and biogenic material in the early phases of star and planet formation; and probe the cosmic history of galaxy formation. Dr. James Bock of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is the principal investigator for SPHEREx and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is the managing center.

The SPHEREx bus will be based on the Ball Aerospace customizable and proven line of Ball Configurable Platform (BCP) spacecraft, designed for flexible, cost-effective applications, using a common spacecraft bus and standard payload interfaces to reduce cost, streamline payload accommodation and minimize delivery time. The BCP series has served as the spacecraft for past explorer-class missions such as the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Exceeding its spacecraft design life, WISE was later repurposed as NEOWISE after completing its primary mission in order to hunt for near-Earth objects. The BCP for the SPHEREx mission builds on the heritage of the success of WISE/NEOWISE and leverages current investments in the platform resulting in increased performance and reduced cost and schedule.

Powered by endlessly curious people with an unwavering mission focus, Ball Aerospace pioneers discoveries that enable our customers to perform beyond expectation and protect what matters most. We create innovative space solutions, enable more accurate weather forecasts, drive insightful observations of our planet, deliver actionable data and intelligence, and ensure those who defend our freedom go forward bravely and return home safely.

About Ball Corporation

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable aluminum packaging solutions for beverage, personal care and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 18,300 people worldwide and reported 2019 net sales of $11.5 billion.