In May 2004, I blogged about three upcoming launches of concern: XSS-11, NFIRE and a classified Air Force payload.
At least two, and possibly all three, have been delayed. Here is an update.
- Experimental Spacecraft System (XSS)-11. The successor to the Clementine program, XSS-11 will demonstrate technologies associated with rendezvous, inspection and anti-satellite missions. The launch has been delayed to March 2005
- Near Field Infra Red Experiment. NFIRE is a risk reduction effort for the space-based interceptor test bed. MDA will now launch NFIRE without the kill vehicle that caused so much concern. The launch date has been delayed to 4Q FY06, with fly-bys scheduled for FY07.
- Classified Air Force payload. One candidate for the launch is the Microsatellite Propulsion Experiment (MPX), a rumored Special Access Program (SAP) in the Missile Defense Agency’s classified Advanced Concepts, Evaluation and Systems (ACES) program element. MPX may be related to the Microsatellite Propulsion Integration experiment.
All three programs are scheduled to be launched on Minotaur Launch Vehicles (like the one pictured above, carrying MightySat 2.1 into orbit). We’ll know more about the programs when the new defense budget request is released next month.