(9 March 2021 – Ball Aerospace) Ball Aerospace, partnered with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, has successfully completed the critical design review of the Wide Field Instrument (WFI), which will be the primary science instrument on NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly known as the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).
Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (courtesy: Ball Aerospace)
“Now that we have passed this critical milestone, we will continue to work hand-in-hand with NASA as we move from the design phase and into building and integrating the instrument,” said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. “It’s always exciting to get to the hardware build, and particularly in this case as WFI is the central science instrument on Roman.”
Ball and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center are working in a close partnership to develop the WFI. Ball’s primary responsibility is the Opto-Mechanical Assembly, which includes the optical bench, thermal control system, precision mechanisms, optics, electronics, and the relative calibration system that provide the stable structural and thermal environment necessary for wide field, high-quality, infrared observations. Ball will integrate the Goddard-provided 302-megapixel focal plane subsystem into the instrument and host instrument level verification and environmental testing.
The Roman Space Telescope is designed to unravel the secrets of dark energy, search for and image exoplanets, and explore many topics in infrared astrophysics. While its 2.4m telescope is the same size as Hubble’s, the WFI enables a field of view 100 times greater than Hubble’s at the same resolution.
Ball’s work with NASA on the Roman Space Telescope continues a relationship that spans nearly 60 years. Ball built seven science instruments for the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as the advanced optical technology and lightweight mirror system for the James Webb Space Telescope. Overall, Ball has played a role in all of NASA’s Great Observatories – Compton Gamma Ray, Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope. Roman Space Telescope continues that tradition.
Powered by endlessly curious people with an unwavering mission focus, Ball Aerospace pioneers discoveries that enable our customers to perform beyond expectation and protect what matters most. We create innovative space solutions, enable more accurate weather forecasts, drive insightful observations of our planet, deliver actionable data and intelligence, and ensure those who defend our freedom go forward bravely and return home safely.
About Ball Corporation
Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable aluminum packaging solutions for beverage, personal care 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 21,500 people worldwide and reported 2020 net sales of $11.8 billion.