Despite the schedule and cost savings promised by flying government hosted payloads on commercial satellites, industry and former government officials expressed frustration, directed largely at government agencies, with the difficulties they’ve encountered in trying to fly such payloads.
A company that has secured customer commitments from South Pacific island nations for a Ka-band satellite broadband delivery project expects to use those preorders to complete a third round of financing and start production of two Ka-band payloads this year.
SES said it would fly a U.S. solar-science mission, called GOLD, as a hosted payload on the company’s SES-14 satellite to launch in 2017 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has been careful not to identify the satellites that would host its planned network of experimental kill assessment sensors, but industry sources say the likeliest candidate is the Iridium Next constellation of mobile communications satellites.
MDA's budget blueprint for 2016 contained a refreshing surprise: a $22 million request to field of commercially hosted sensors that would determine whether or not incoming missiles have been successfully intercepted.
The FAA office that licenses U.S. commercial space launches is set to eliminate a paperwork obstacle SpaceX had to negotiate in order to tote a couple dozen tag-along student experiments on a 2012 cargo run to the International Space Station.
Harris has delivered the first flight payload for the Aireon aircraft navigation venture, which will use the Iridium Next satellite constellation to help airlines save money by flying more efficient routes.
A new U.S. Air Force contracting vehicle for hosting government payloads on commercial satellites likely will be used exclusively for civilian scientific missions for three to five years.
The infrared payload still needs to be integrated and tested on the Space Based Infrared System satellite.
The U.S. Senate’s newly drafted defense spending bill for 2015 directs the Air Force to allocate at least $20 million for work on a space-based digital navigation instrument as a possible alternative to the payload developed for the service’s new-generation GPS 3 satellites.
The Air Force is aiming to create a contracting vehicle to standardize the processes and interfaces for placing dedicated military capabilities aboard commercial satellites.