Ball Aerospace Demonstrates Ultra-Lightweight Telescope Technologies for DARPA's MOIRE Program

   Ball Aerospace Demonstrates Ultra-Lightweight Telescope Technologies for
                            DARPA's MOIRE Program

PR Newswire

BOULDER, Colo., Dec. 6, 2013

BOULDER, Colo., Dec. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ball Aerospace & Technologies
Corp. has demonstrated unprecedented telescope technologies using
ultra-lightweight polymer membrane optics.



Ball is incrementally demonstrating technology needed to deploy a large,
20-meter-diameter, lightweight space-based telescope in geosynchronous orbit
as part of the Membrane Optic Imager Real-time Exploitation (MOIRE) program,
led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Most recently, Ball completed construction and testing of one-eighth of a
5-meter-diameter annular segmented telescope to verify functionality of the
MOIRE design.

"The ground demonstration substantiates that this innovative technology could
work on next generation space telescopes to greatly reduce their costs and
enable larger telescopes," said Ball Aerospace President Rob Strain. "This
technology could apply to a wide-range of applications providing various forms
of information to a multitude of users."

The lightweight optics developed under the MOIRE program reduces the mass of
large aperture telescopes by nearly an order of magnitude compared to those
with conventional optics. Since costs scale roughly with spacecraft mass, one
key to affordability is minimizing the mass of future space optics. This
technology could lend itself to easily stowed configurations for launch within
a payload shroud that could be deployed on orbit.

The telescope concept that Ball developed employs thin (less than 1/1000^th of
an inch) transparent membranes etched with a diffraction pattern as the
primary optical element used to focus light.

"This is the first design to use transparent membranes on a large scale," said
Aaron Seltzer, director of Advanced Development for Ball Aerospace's National
Defense business unit. "The result is a telescope with exceptionally low mass
per unit of collecting area."

To produce MOIRE's optical-quality polymer membranes and the precision etching
needed to generate the diffraction pattern, Ball worked with NeXolve and the
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The Ball demonstration telescope uses
six primary diffractive optical elements. Additional technologies demonstrated
by Ball for the MOIRE telescope include the use of secondary diffractive
optical elements to correct chromatic dispersion (e.g. the rainbow effect
visible on the reverse side of a DVD); stability of the membranes; and the use
of laser metrology and active optics to align the primary and secondary

Following the successful ground-based proof of concept for MOIRE, the Ball
team intends to pursue additional funding to move the technology forward.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national
agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S.
government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures
spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation
systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications.
For more information, visit

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable packaging
solutions for beverage, food 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 15,000 people
worldwide and reported 2012 sales of more than $8.7 billion. For more
information, visit, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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SOURCE Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

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