Aviation Week and Space Technology has bestowed a Laureate Award to Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. for helping NASA identify potential earth-sized planets as the prime contractor on the Kepler mission.
The company built the spacecraft for the mission and in December 2011 identified at least one planet that exists in a “habitable” zone where liquid water could exist on its surface.
It has also identified more than 1,000 potential planets since the mission launch in 2009 and has been simultaneously measuring the brightness of more than 100,000 stars since that year.
A company announcement said its work has almost doubled the amount of potential planets included in a previous count.
The announcement said the award “recognizes teams and individuals for the accomplishments and the inspiration they provide to others in striving for broad-reaching, significant progress in aerospace and aviation.”
Aviation Week handed out the award on March 7 at a Washington, D.C. event at the Mellon auditorium.
It is the second time the company has won the Laureate award after the Deep Impact mission was a finalist for the space award in 2006.
Ball Aerospace was also on a team which won the award for the first servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994.
“Ball Aerospace is proud to be honored for its contribution to the Kepler Mission by Aviation Week’s Laureate award for space,” said David L. Taylor, Ball Aerospace president and CEO. “The Laureate Award for this pioneering spacecraft and its revolutionary scientific discoveries recognizes the dedication of hundreds of Ball Aerospace employees.”
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