Boeing [NYSE:BA] announced today that the successful 12-hour mission of the first micro-satellite, known as XSS-10, proves that an autonomous space system can operate near other orbiting space objects.
XSS-10 was one of two payloads launched on Jan. 29 on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Work on this first micro-satellite began in 1997 when Boeing was awarded the contract under a project funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory. Boeing's Space and Intelligence Systems and Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power, both business units of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, designed, developed and built this 31-kilogram (68-pound) spacecraft that is the first in the XSS series of experimental satellite systems.
"The XSS-10 not only proves that small autonomous spacecraft can be used to come close to other spacecraft in orbit, but proving this technology could result in additional benefits to the satellite industry as a whole," said Dr. Roger Roberts, senior vice president of Space and Intelligence Systems.
The XSS-10 features an on-board computer processor, avionics, propulsion and high-resolution cameras that facilitate close inspection. During this mission, the XSS-10 traveled within 100 meters (328 feet) of the second-stage booster of the Delta II rocket, to take photographs and transmit the images back to ground from a low-Earth orbital position 800 kilometers above the equator.
Headquartered in St. Louis, Integrated Defense Systems is a $25 billion business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in satellite launch services.