Seven satellite makers and operators have banded together to promote the practice of hosting government payloads aboard commercial satellites, the group announced March 30.

The Hosted Payload Alliance “will serve as a bridge between government and private industry to foster open communication between potential users and providers of hosted payload capabilities,” the announcement said. Commercial satellite operators and manufacturers say government agencies can save time and money by placing dedicated payloads aboard commercial craft.

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The initial members, called the steering committee, of the Hosted Payload Alliance are: Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems; Intelsat General Corp.; Iridium Communications; Lockheed Martin Space Systems; Orbital Sciences Corp.; SES World Skies U.S. Government Solutions; and Space Systems/Loral. The members expect other satellite companies to join.

Hosted payloads can perform a variety of missions, including Earth observation, communications, space situational awareness and space weather forecasting, the group said.

“We believe there is a need for industry and government to work together to facilitate hosted payloads,” Don Thoma, chairman of the Hosted Payload Alliance Steering Committee, said in a prepared statement. “An important goal of this group is to act as a source of subject-matter expertise to educate stakeholders in the public and private sectors on the numerous opportunities for hosted payloads on commercial launch spacecraft.”