XSS-10 Mission Results and Lessons Learned
Davis, Thomas M.
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The Air Force Research Laboratory established the Micro-Satellite Technology Development Program (XSS series of flight demonstrations) to leverage micro-satellite technologies with the aim of providing solutions to Air Force future space mission capabilities. XSS-10 was the first in this series and was intended to demonstrate key operational concepts and technologies relating to close-in satellite inspection operations. The XSS-10 program began in December 1997 and launched from Cape Canaveral on 29 January 2003 attached to the second stage of a Delta II. Eleven orbits later the XSS-10 micro-sat ejected from the orbiting Delta second stage and successfully completed a brief series of semi-autonomous maneuver and inspection operations using the Delta second stage as the RSO. The mission objectives of XSS-10 were to demonstrate autonomous navigation, proximity operations, and inspection of a Resident Space Object (RSO). XSS-10, a 31 kilogram micro-satellite launched as a secondary on a Delta II expendable launch vehicle carrying a GPS satellite. XSS-10 was equipped with a visible camera, a star sensor, GPS receiver and a mini SGLS system, all specially built for this program. In addition, a visible camera was also mounted on the second stage to observe the release of the microsatellite and observe its maneuvers. The XSS-10 micro satellite was released from the Delta II second stage after the GPS satellite was released. Operating autonomously, on a preplanned course, XSS-10 performed its mission of navigating around the Delta II second stage. Autonomously navigating around the second stage, at preplanned positions, the microsatellite took images of the second stage and sent them back in real time. During these demonstrations, XSS-10 demonstrated responsive checkout of the microsatellite and all of its subsystems, autonomous navigation on a preplanned course and a variety of algorithms and mission operations that are critical for future mission operations. This paper will discuss the results of the mission and post mission analysis of the XSS-10 space flight.