The combined efforts of The Ball Aerospace, a unit of Ball Corporation (BLL), DigitalGlobe, Inc. (DGI), Exelis Inc. (XLS) and Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) Commercial Launch Services team, has led to the successful launch of WorldView-3, the first multi-payload, super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite. The satellite launched on a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Aug 13, as announced earlier.
Shares of Ball Corporation gained around 1.7% and closed at $63.85 on Aug 18 since the announcement.
Ball Aerospace in association with DigitalGlobe, a leading provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions, has delivered WorldView-2, WorldView-1 and QuickBird in the past. WorldView-3 is the fourth satellite built by Ball Aerospace in the DigitalGlobe constellation.
Ball Corporation has begun the integration phase for Worldview-3 in Apr 2013. Further, WorldView-3 carries CAVIS (Clouds, Aerosol, water Vapor, Ice and Snow), an atmospheric instrument built by Ball Aerospace, which will provide correct data to the satellite even if there is mist, aerosols or other atmospheric obscurants. Ball Corporation was also responsible for development, integration and testing of the satellite.
DigitalGlobe will have the largest high resolution satellite imagery collection capacity in the industry with Worldview-3. DigitalGlobe constellation enhanced WorldView-3's ability to collect images which will permit customers to search for new sources of minerals and fuels in order to manage forests and farms. Moreover, the technology will precisely identify different manmade and natural materials.
The U.S. government has brought certain restrictions for non-U.S. government customers regarding infrared imagery, which are limited to 50 centimeters panchromatic, 2.0 meter multispectral or, 7.5 meter (Short Wave Infrared) SWIR. WorldView-3 in line with the limitations, will offer 31 centimeter resolution panchromatic, 1.24 meter resolution eight-band multispectral and 3.72 meter resolution eight-band SWIR imagery.
Further, DigitalGlobe recently received permission from the U.S. Department of Commerce to sell even higher resolution satellite imagery. Once operational, WorldView-3 will provide the commercial market images with significantly greater clarity and spectral depth than anything previously available.
Additionally, Exelis built the integrated, super-spectral payload consisting of a telescope, sensor and shortwave infrared system, making WorldView-3 the first commercial satellite to carry such capabilities. In addition, United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle provided by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services (:LMCLS) delivered the satellite in orbit.
Ball Corporation’s Aerospace & Technologies segment develops spacecraft, sensors and instruments, radio frequency systems and other advanced technologies for the civil, commercial and national security aerospace markets.
The Aerospace and Technologies segment sales grew 6.6% year over year to $241 million in the second quarter of 2014 driven by successful program execution and solid contracted backlog.
Broomfield, CO-based Ball Corp. is the largest manufacturer of beverage cans in North America. It also supplies aerospace as well as other technologies and services to the government and customers.
Ball Corporation carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).