What happened

Shares of Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) jumped 14% last month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, after the company reported progress on a key initiative.

So what

For most of June, Ball's stock rose along with the general market. Then its gains accelerated toward month's end. 

On June 21, Ball Aerospace, a subsidiary, announced that a satellite it built for NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) was ready for launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. The small satellite uses a new propellant and propulsion system in orbit, providing a less toxic alternative to conventional chemical propulsion systems. 

"GPIM has the potential to inspire new ideas and new missions, which could mean smaller spacecraft, faster and easier ground processing, longer design lives, and more," Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, a Ball Aerospace executive, said in a press release.

Two engineers working on a small satellite

Ball Aerospace engineers work on a small satellite for NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission. Image source: Ball Corporation.

Now what

Net sales in Ball's aerospace segment jumped 24% year over year to $328 million in the first quarter. The division's operating earnings, meanwhile, rose 20% to $30 million. 

Better still, Ball's aerospace contracted backlog grew to more than $2.1 billion by the end of the first quarter. "In aerospace, new program awards for Ball's space hardware and capabilities will drive additional infrastructure investment and hiring to support multiple years of growth," CEO John Hayes said in the company's Q1 earnings release.

Together with its market-leading packaging business, Ball's aerospace operations have the company well positioned to deliver higher revenue and earnings in the years ahead.