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Three Ball Aerospace Ultra-Wide-Field Flight Cameras Installed on Orion Interplanetary Spacecraft

Three Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. flight cameras have been installed on the Orion Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) crew module by prime contractor Lockheed Martin. Ball’s cameras are the first avionics hardware completed for the EFT-1, which is scheduled to launch in September 2014.

Orion cameras

Orion is the nation’s first interplanetary spacecraft designed to carry astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit on long-duration. Orion’s Testing and Verification program at Lockheed Martin continues to validate hardware and software integration, test subsystems and refine production operations to ensure the Orion team builds the safest, most reliable spacecraft possible to successfully execute a series of increasingly challenging human exploration missions on the path to Mars.

The Ball cameras are based on the design of the docking camera that flew aboard the STS-134 Sensor Test for Orion Relative Navigation Risk Mitigation (STORRM) mission in 2011. STORRM was an innovative technology development effort led by NASA’s Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Project Office at NASA Johnson Space Center in partnership with NASA Langley Research Center, Lockheed Martin, and Ball Aerospace. The on-orbit test validated the performance of the navigation sensor suite for Orion and other future spacecraft by demonstrating a robust relative navigation design that provided the required docking accuracy and range capability necessary to meet crew safety, mass, volume and power requirements for a wide variety of future NASA missions, including those into deep space.

The new ultra-wide-field cameras built by Ball for Orion EFT-1 have enhanced software and exposure controls, and will be positioned in various windows on the spacecraft in order to monitor the test flight as different procedures are carried out.

Variations of the Ball cameras are planned for each Orion flight. In addition to providing test and docking cameras, Ball is producing the conformal phased array antennas and star trackers that will be installed on each Orion launch system. The first human-rated Orion mission is slated for 2021.

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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