XSS-11 is an experimental Air Force technology demonstrator designed to track other satellites. Controllers simply tell the spacecraft where to look for a piece of orbiting hardware–another U.S. satellite, for instance–and the XSS-11 autonomously plots a course, accelerates to the object, and begins to orbit and observe. It’s the first step toward automatic satellite inspection and repair.
Experimental Satellite System 11 (XSS-11)
One step closer to autonomous space rendezvous