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XSS-11 computer model
Mission type Technology
Operator AFRL
COSPAR ID 2005-011A
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin
Launch mass 100 kilograms (220 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date April 11, 2005 (2005-04-11)
Rocket Minotaur I
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-8
Contractor Orbital
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Eccentricity 0.002487906
Perigee 839 kilometers (521 mi)
Apogee 875 kilometers (544 mi)
Inclination 98.8& degrees
Period 102.1 minutes

USA-165 or XSS-11[1] (Experimental Satellite System-11) is a small, washing-machine-sized, low-cost spacecraft developed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate to test technology for proximity operations. In particular, the satellite was designed to demonstrate "autonomous rendezvous and proximity maneuvers." In other words, it would approach, investigate, and photograph other spacecraft in Earth orbit. It would help test the feasibility of in-space inspection and repair. The spacecraft was also designed to test systems that would allow the spacecraft to maneuver autonomously.

USA-165 was built by Lockheed Martin and weighed 125 kg with an excess of 600 m/s delta-v. USA-165 was launched into Low Earth Orbit on April 11, 2005 on a Minotaur rocket and remained in its primary orbit for over eighteen months, but then in December 2006 it was maneuvered into a disposal orbit and lost to satellite spotters. USA-165 was later rediscovered by amateur satellite watcher Kevin Fetter.[2]

The NASA GRAIL spacecraft design was based on XSS-11 design.


  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  2. ^ "What's up in space". 2010-10-05. 

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