Ball completes key phase on DGI satellite

BOULDER – Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. announced on Monday that it has completed integration of the imagery sensor and associated electronics on the WorldView-3 satellite.

Ball is building the satellite for Longmont-based DigitalGlobe Inc. (NYSE: DGI), with a launch scheduled for summer of this year from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

With the latest milestone, the satellite is ready for system-level performance testing, which will be followed by thermal vacuum and environmental testing.

WorldView-3 will be used by DigitalGlobe to collect digital images of the earth from space. It is the fourth remote-sensing satellite built for DigitalGlobe by Ball, and will be the most advanced in DigitalGlobe’s fleet.

In addition to the satellite bus, Boulder-based Ball is providing an atmospheric instrument called CAVIS, which stands for Cloud, Aerosol, Water Vapor, Ice, Snow. CAVIS will help improve WorldView-3’s imagery when shot through haze, dust or other obscuring matter.

“Ball’s third commercial platform in the WorldView series will equip DigitalGlobe with advanced technologies to enhance its high-resolution imagery constellation,” Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for Ball’s Operational Space business unit, said in a press release.

WorldView-3 will be shipped to California about eight weeks prior to launch, though a launch date has not yet been set.

“With each successive payload developed in partnership with Ball, DigitalGlobe has expanded the range of questions about the surface of the Earth that can be answered with high-resolution satellite imaging,´ said DigitalGlobe’s chief technical officer and co-founder Walter Scott. The company announced last year that it will be moving its headquarters to Westminster by 2015.

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