Encyclopedia Astronautica
XSS


American rendezvous technology satellite. 2 launches, 2003.01.29 (XSS-10) and 2005.04.11 (USA 165).

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) built and demonstrated a new class of low-cost satellites -- referred to as "micro-satellites" -- weighing less than 100 kilograms. These new satellites were flown under the Experimental Spacecraft System (XSS) Microsatellite Demonstration Project.

In conjunction with the Air Force Space Command, Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center, the Naval Research Laboratory, and industry, missions evaluated future applications of micro-satellite technologies to include: inspection; rendezvous and docking; repositioning; and techniques for close proximity maneuvering around orbital assets.

Key technologies

  • Lightweight propulsion system
  • Guidance, navigation & control (GNC)
  • Miniaturized communications system
  • Primary lithium polymer batteries
  • Integrated camera and star sensor

AKA: Experimental Spacecraft System.
Gross mass: 28 kg (61 lb).
First Launch: 2003.01.29.
Last Launch: 2005.04.11.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...
  • Minotaur Minotaur was developed for the US Air Force's Orbital/Suborbital Program (OSP) as a low-cost, four-stage Space Launch Vehicle (SLV) using a combination of government-supplied surplus Minuteman II ICBM motors and proven Orbital space launch technologies. Proposed growth versions would use surplus Peacekeeper rocket stages. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta 2 7000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 7000 series used GEM-40 strap-ons with the Extra Extended Long Tank core, further upgraded with the RS-27A engine. More...
  • Delta 7925-9.5 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B with 2.9 m (9.5 foot) diameter fairing) More...
  • Minotaur 1 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Orbital launch vehicle consisting of a surplus Minuteman M55A1 first stage, Minuteman SR19 second stage, and new Orion 50XL third stage, Orion 38 fourth stage, and optional HAPS fifth stage for velocity trim and multiple payload deployment. Payload 580 kg to an 185 km, 28.5 degree orbit from Cape Canaveral; 310 kg to a 740 km sun-synchronous orbit from Vandenberg. More...
  • Minotaur American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Minotaur was developed for the US Air Force's Orbital/Suborbital Program (OSP) as a low-cost, four-stage Space Launch Vehicle (SLV) using a combination of government-supplied surplus Minuteman II ICBM motors and proven Orbital space launch technologies. The Minotaur 4 version used surplus Peacekeeper rocket stages. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • AFRL American manufacturer of spacecraft. Air Force Research Laboratory, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Space-Launcher.com, Orbital Report News Agency. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17B Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Upgraded over the decades for use with Thor, Delta, Delta II, and Delta III launch vehicles, it remained in use for over half a century. More...

XSS Chronology


2003 January 29 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. Launch Pad: SLC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925-9.5. LV Configuration: Delta 7925-9.5.
  • XSS-10 - . Mass: 28 kg (61 lb). Nation: USA. Manufacturer: USAF RL. Class: Technology. Type: Rendezvous technology satellite. Spacecraft: XSS. USAF Sat Cat: 27664 . COSPAR: 2003-005B. Apogee: 811 km (503 mi). Perigee: 524 km (325 mi). Inclination: 39.7540 deg. Period: 97.95 min. On-orbit servicing technology demonstrator. XSS-10, a 28 kilogram microsatellite, was launched as a secondary payload aboard the Delta 2 launch vehicle carrying a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) satellite. The mission demonstrated the complex interactions of line-of-sight guidance with basic inertial maneuvering. The micro-satellite was attached to the Delta 2 second stage. Once the second stage separated from the GPS satellite, the microsatellite waited for a sunlit Air Force Space Control Network pass before ejecting from the second stage. Once ejected, the microsatellite commenced an autonomous inspection sequence around the second stage, and live video was transmitted to ground stations. The entire mission lasted only 24 hours. Launch delayed from June 11 and August 16, 2001; March 6, April 29, August 11 and November 7, 2002.

2005 April 11 - . 13:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC8. LV Family: Minotaur. Launch Vehicle: Minotaur 1. LV Configuration: Minotaur 1 3.
  • USA 165 - . Payload: XSS-11. Mass: 145 kg (319 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF RL. Manufacturer: Lockheed. Class: Technology. Type: Rendezvous technology satellite. Spacecraft: XSS. USAF Sat Cat: 28636 . COSPAR: 2005-011A. Apogee: 872 km (541 mi). Perigee: 840 km (520 mi). Inclination: 98.8000 deg. Period: 102.10 min. Delayed from November 9, 2004; January 19, March 18, 2005. Military Autonomous Rendezvous Technology. It tested navigation technologies for rendezvous that directly measured relative position to the target satellite. It was have to rendezvoused with several defunct American satellites. However it was only known to have conducted operations with its own Minotaur upper stage

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