Palo Alto, California. September 4, 2014 – Space Systems/Loral (SSL), a leading provider of commercial satellites, has been selected by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) to work with U.S. Government agencies to host government payloads on commercial satellites. The SMC awarded SSL an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for both geostationary (GEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO)/Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) missions.
Valued at a maximum of $494.5 million, the Hosted Payload Solutions (HOPS) contracts pre-qualify SSL to bid on opportunities for hosted payloads, which can help the U.S. Government get a variety of missions to orbit by integrating them with commercial satellites. The hosted payload concept speeds access to space and reduces space segment cost for both government and commercial missions.
SSL was also one of the companies awarded the first task order under HoPS to assess hosting options for NASA’s Earth Venture Instrument TEMPO (Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution).
SSL has demonstrated its leadership in helping government agencies find more affordable access to space by working toward accommodating payloads such as laser communications and a pollution monitoring system on the large geostationary communications satellites that it typically builds for commercial telecommunications providers.
As a leading manufacturer of commercial satellites with 75 GEO satellites currently on orbit, SSL can offer many opportunities for a payload seeking a host spacecraft. In LEO, SSL has partnered with parent company MDA and several other companies with LEO satellites and can offer more than 100 potential hosting opportunities.
SSL has already demonstrated its leadership in working with U.S. Government agencies to integrate payloads onto commercial satellites, such as the U.S. Defense Department’s joint capability technology demonstration (JCTD) of an Internet Router In Space (IRIS), which was hosted on a satellite that SSL built for Intelsat.
Currently, SSL is working with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to place a Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD), as a hosted payload, on a commercial satellite to be built by SSL and projected for launch in 2017. SSL is working with its commercial customers to identify an appropriate host satellite for the demonstration and selection of the GEO host operator and mission will be made next year.
In addition to offering hosted payloads, which remain attached to their host satellite, SSL is working with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to design and implement a unique new capability that will accommodate what DARPA calls the Payload Orbital Delivery System (PODS).
PODS enables affordable delivery of free-flying spacecraft beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) by releasing them from a commercial spacecraft, such as the SSL 1300, while in geo-transfer orbit or after the satellite reaches its final orbital location. This capability can be leveraged for a broad range of missions such as satellite servicing, or science and technology space missions and demonstrations.
With HoPS, PODS and regular access to GEO and LEO, SSL is building on its established track record of hosting payloads to provide affordable options for those seeking access to space without a dedicated launch.