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Environmental Protection & Preservation

Glory Mission to Include Cloud Cameras to Monitor Global Environmental Changes

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp will design and build two cloud cameras for the Glory mission under contract to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The Glory mission is part of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program to improve our understanding of what forces influence global environmental changes and how to predict those changes.

Glory is a remote-sensing Earth-orbiting observatory scheduled to launch in 2008 for a three-year mission life. The mission will collect data on aerosols as well as radiant energy emitted by the sun.

Two instruments will be deployed in order to accomplish these objectives. They include the Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor (APS); and the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM). The Ball Aerospace cloud cameras complement the APS instrument, being developed by Raytheon Civil Space Programs.

"These semi-custom CT-633 star tracker cameras have been the standard for Ball Aerospace missions for over a decade and include the wide-field camera onboard the recently launched CALIPSO mission," said David L. Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Ball Aerospace. "Since 1967 Ball Aerospace has designed and built six generations of versatile, reliable, and cost-effective star trackers that continue to reach new levels of performance."

As part of the Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor package, the cloud cameras will distinguish between cloud fields and clear scenes over land and the ocean, in order to collect data on chemical, microphysical, and optical properties, and spatial and temporal distributions of aerosols. At the same time, the TIM instrument, being developed by the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, will collect total solar irradiance data. Both instruments should help shed light on how human factors contribute to global warming compared to natural climate variability caused by the sun.

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