Ball Aerospace Chosen for NASA’s ECCCO Mission Concept Study

Ball Aerospace, a globally recognized leader in innovative space solutions, has been chosen to conduct a Phase A study for NASA’s proposed Extreme ultraviolet Coronal Mass Ejection and Coronal Connectivity Observatory (ECCCO). This mission aims to provide astronomers with a deeper understanding of the sun’s coronal structure, its correlation with solar wind, and eruptive events.

The proposed mission will utilize a wide-field extreme ultraviolet (EUV) imager and two imaging EUV spectrographs. These devices are designed to provide continuous, high-contrast observations of the middle corona, the sun’s outermost atmospheric layer. Despite existing instrumentation to observe the sun’s inner and outer corona, the middle corona, particularly the eruptive phenomena within it, remain largely an enigma to researchers.

“The middle corona is amongst the least explored and poorly understood regions of the solar atmosphere,” noted Dr. Alberto Conti, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. The ECCCO mission aims to resolve this significant observational gap and expand our knowledge about the transformations of matter and energy occurring within the sun’s middle corona.

Katharine Reeves, a solar astrophysicist with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), will lead the study as the principal investigator. If the mission progresses, Ball Aerospace will take on the design and construction of the spacecraft, alongside leading integration and environmental testing.

In addition to ECCCO, Ball Aerospace will also conduct a concept study for NASA’s Chromospheric Magnetism Explorer (CMEx) mission, another initiative seeking to understand the influence of the sun’s magnetic field on eruption events.

Ball Corp. provides innovative, sustainable aluminum packaging solutions for beverage, personal care, and household products. The company also offers aerospace and other technologies and services, mainly for the U.S. government. Ball Corp. and its subsidiaries have a workforce of 21,000 people worldwide and reported net sales of $15.35 billion in 2022.