Jeffrey LewisMore on the XSS-11

Spaceflight Now has a longer article on the XSS-11, which the Air Force successfully launched today at 9:35 am EDT.

Colonel Richard White, commander of Space and Missile System Center’s Detachment 12, stated “We can say categorically, there’s nothing that ejects out of the satellite.” That is welcome news and, apparently, a change from the original mission profile.

As for the resident space object (RSO) with which XSS will rendezvous, it seems like the Air Force will make a game-time decision:

“As we proceed through the mission, we take some of those points out as we get more confidence that the planner is doing the right thing and it’s agreeing with what we are seeing on the tools on the ground. As we go through the mission, we will take more and more of those go/no go decision points out that are given from the ground. The objective by the end of the program is have as many of those, if not all those, out and tell it what you want it to do and have confidence it is going to succeed.”

In selecting the targets, the objects must be American and within roughly the same orbit.

“All of the objects are U.S.-owned, dead or inactive space objects. We have several rocket bodies that have been expended for other space vehicles and two or three satellites that are no longer operating. … I believe one of them is a dead NOAA satellite,” Baker explained.

The exact mission length will be determined as the mission proceeds. [Ellipses in original]