Earlier this month, some very promising news came out of the SATCON 2012 conference. A Pentagon official announced a reworking of the guidance document covering the use of hosted payloads by the military. The revised guidance will be published with industry input by the end of the year. From an article in Space News:
“The addendum is intended to clarify aspects of the guidance that might be subject to misunderstanding, said Charles L. Beames, strategic adviser, space and intelligence, in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
“’I think it was well intentioned … but at the same time I think there were areas in the letter that probably need better explanation,’ Beames said Nov. 14 at the SATCON2012 conference here.”
We see this announcement as further evidence that the Pentagon is gaining a new perspective on the partnership of commercial providers and the military in space. The benefits of hosted payloads are compelling. Recently we looked at the benefits realized by the Australian Defence Force from a UHF hosted payload aboard IS-22.
Hosted payloads are a logical next step in a commercial-government partnership that dates back 20 years. As IGC President Kay Sears has written previously, the commercial sector already provides the majority of ISR-related bandwidth needed by the military today. And that bandwidth requirement is expected to double by 2018.
Clarifying the guidance document will improve military and private sector coordination, and keep this exciting hosted payload momentum going.