Last week, hundreds of satellite professionals gathered at the Hosted Payload Summit to take an in-depth look at the business case, policies and challenges surrounding hosted payloads, as well as key government and military requirements.
One of the highlights was the opening keynote address by Douglas L. Loverro, Executive Director Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, which focused on hosted payloads and the future of the Milsatcom landscape. Although not specifically listed by Loverro, the successful launch of the Australian Defence Force hosted payload on the Intelsat-22 satellite in March was a major milestone. Perhaps not listed because it was not leased by the U.S. government directly, it should never-the-less be included considering that the U.S. DoD is leasing a portion of the ADFs UHF capacity from the Australians for U.S. services.
In his keynote Loverro highlighted the “Top 10” hosted payload events of 2012:
- President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 defense budget that contained funding for future hosted payloads.
- The Northern Sky Research (NSR) study that showcased substantial budget forecasting for government hosted payloads on commercial satellites.
- The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) standing up the Hosted Payload Office (HPO) to evaluate hosted payload opportunities as a distributed, resilient option within operational architectures. The HPO has already advanced efforts with regards to information assurance and standard interface specifications.
- NASA’s Space Technology Program awarding Space System/Loral a $3 million contract to initiate the process of hosting a space laser communications relay demonstration terminal payload aboard a Loral commercial satellite.
- Failure to find deal between Iridium and the U.S. government, which Loverro explained provided information on how to make these industry-government partnerships work effectively.
- The SMC’s hosted payload IDIQ contract, which is the first step in moving towards normal, acceptable and repeatable hosted payload arrangements.
- CHIRP’s role in keeping hosted payloads viable with $300 million worth of projected investments in the next four years.
- The House Appropriations Defense subcommittee’s (HAC-D) views against CHIRP reinforce that more needs to be done to showcase the value of hosted payloads to members of Congress.
- The 2014 Defense Planning Guidance draft to include a hosted payload plan for the Department of Defense, as well as will identify tasks and initiatives to bring it to life.
- The successful launch of CHIRP and the resulting imagery sparked excitement in Congress about the possible technological advances that hosted payloads provide.
Loverro reinforced the value of hosted payloads by adding that they will eventually become a normal and expected part of the DoD. He made the additional point that hosted payloads are especially important in today’s fiscal climate.
2012 has been a big year for hosted payloads and IGC shares the SMCs enthusiasm for a bright future in this arena.