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XSS 11


Lockheed Martin Space Systems - Astronautics Operations, headquartered near Denver, Colo., has been selected by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to partner with the laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate's Integrated Space Experiments Division to design, build and demonstrate in flight the XSS-11 (Experimental Small Satellite 11) microsatellite.

XSS-11 is envisioned to be a 100 kg microsatellite that will further explore, demonstrate and flight-qualify microsatellite technologies. The contract is valued at US$21 million.

XSS-11's objective is to demonstrate key elements of extended proximity operations using microsatellites. An agile, capable, affordable microsatellite will rendezvous with a resident space object and perform extended proximity operations including standoff inspection and circumnavigation. Key technologies are the proximity operation software/algorithms, miniature proximity sensors including a laser ranger, producible and capable microsatellite bus with a modular payload interface, and command and control techniques for proximity operations including safety and verification procedures.

One of the XSS-11 mission goals is to perform space flight demonstration of technologies needed for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) proposed plans to use spacecraft to collect samples of rocks and soil from Mars and return them to Earth for analysis.

The Lockheed Martin team includes the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Octant Technologies, Inc., Broad Reach Engineering and Science Applications International Corporation. The AFRL team also includes the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center's Detachment 12 at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, which will support spacecraft launch and on-orbit experiment operations. This program will establish the feasibility of possible future Air Force space missions through the use of affordable microsatellites.

The XSS 11 program received some harsh criticism in the press, when a Pentagon official spoke about the possibility of using XSS-11 as a kinetic anti-satellite weapon (ASAT).

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Rendezvous Technology
Operator: Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), NASA
Contractors: Lockheed Martin
Configuration: LM-300
Power: 2 deployable fixed solar arrays, batteries
Mass: 145 kg
Orbit: 839 kam × 875 km, 98.8
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
XSS 11 (USA 165) 2005-011A 11.04.2005 Va SLC-8 Minotaur-1


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