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Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., the Boulder-based aerospace arm of Westminster-based metal-packaging manufacturer Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL), recently inked a deal with NASA to build a new spacecraft to help the agency study the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA’s Global Lyman-alpha Imager of the Dynamic Exosphere, or GLIDE heliophysics mission, is led by Lara Waldrop of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are managing mission implementation, according to a Ball release.

The mission hopes to learn more about the area where Earth’s atmosphere meets space.

“We are excited to work alongside NASA, the University of Illinois and UC Berkeley on this new heliophysics science mission,” Ball’s civil space general manager Makenzie Lystrup said in the release. “Combining Ball’s flexible spacecraft with UC Berkeley’s innovative instrument provides a powerful solution to meet the needs of the scientific community’s understanding of our exosphere, enabling science at any scale.”

Ball is in the process of preparing to expand its aerospace manufacturing facility in Boulder to help it continue to win contracts from agencies such as NASA.

Late last year, the firm submitted to city planners documents that show Ball’s intent to build three new buildings at the 1600 Commerce St. campus that would add 375,000 square feet on the roughly 27-acre site.

Plans are currently making their way through Boulder’s municipal approval process.

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