What is a Hosted Payload?
The term Hosted Payload refers to the utilization of available power, mass and space on commercial satellites to accommodate additional transponders, instruments or other space-bound items.
By offering hosted payload opportunities on board SES spacecraft, the U.S. Government is provided with consistent, dependable and affordable access to space.
Download the Hosted Payload PDF here.
Missions Suited for Hosted Payloads:
- Risk Reduction Activities
- Technology Advancement
- Flight Qualification
- Operational Missions:
- Space Situational Awareness
- Tailored Communication Systems
- Space Environmental Monitoring
- Space Based Augmentation for Navigation
- Earth Monitoring
For other U.S. Government mission requirements, SES can apply its fleet and mission development skills to build, launch and operate dedicated spacecraft.
Timely and Affordable Access to Space
At a time where many government satellite programs have experienced schedule delays, cancellations and budgetary challenges, the use of commercially hosted payloads can help to maintain (or in some cases accelerate) program schedules, fill gaps in operational and proof-of-concept activities and provide a timely and affordable means of accessing space.
The frequency of commercially hosted payloads provides many opportunities for government payloads to reach orbit. SES currently has 5 spacecraft in various stages of development over the next three to four years, many of which are hosted payload opportunities. The robust launch pace and the strict schedule requirements of commercial spacecraft programs ensures efficient access to space with minimal chance for delays.
In recent years, commercially hosted payloads have received increased attention and interest from the U.S. Government as a means of accessing space. In particular, the U.S. Air Force has been on the leading edge of exploring opportunities with commercial satellite operators and embarked on an innovative approach with its Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP) flight demonstration program.
Advantages of Hosted Payloads:
- Accelerated time to launch
- Frequent launch opportunities
- Flexibility to accommodate a wide range of missions
- Full spacecraft partnerships and planning
- Shorter planning cycle
- Satellite construction 24 to 36 months
- Shared platforms = shared costs
- Customer operated, independent of the host satellite
- Custom designed transponders are included in the 24 to 36 month schedule
- Spacecraft infrastructure development
SES Government Solutions provides exclusive access to SES’ global fleet of geosynchronous satellites, and offers hosted payload opportunities with every launch.
|Scheduled Launch||Name||Orbital Position||Payload|
|1Q 2014||ASTRA 5B||31.5° East||Ku-band|
|1Q 2014||ASTRA 2G||28.2° East||Ku- & Ka-band|
|1Q 2015||SES-9||108.2° East||Ku-band|
Industry Leader: Three Government Payloads on Contract
Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP) Flight Demonstration Program
SES Government Solutions is hosting an experimental U.S. Air Force sensor on an SES satellite operating over the United States. The CHIRP flight demonstration program is currently testing a new type of infrared sensor from geosynchronous orbit. This sensor was integrated onto a commercial satellite and the data it receives is transmitted to a ground station for analysis. The sensor has a two-year design life. CHIRP was launched on September 21, 2011. Watch the launch here.
This flight demonstration program illustrates how a commercial satellite operator can provide tremendous value to government customers looking for affordable access to space. SES Government Solutions will also provide the services to determine the utility of the sensor in terms of data, performance validation and interoperability.
News on the CHIRP Program:
European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS)
The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) provides European navigation services, supplementing the American GPS and the Russian-led GLONASS navigation systems. It verifies, improves and reports on the reliability and accuracy of positioning signals in the European states area. In the future, it will also support the European GALILEO navigation system.
SES has been awarded two contracts for EGNOS following two completely separate tenders by the European Commission, which manages the program on behalf of the European Union. Two tailor-made payloads and the related ground infrastructure, including fully redundant ground network hosting and two redundant uplink chains, will be supplied by SES. These are the first fully commercial payloads for the EGNOS program. The hosting satellites provide the capability to extend the coverage of the service from Europe to Africa and other neighboring countries of the EU.
The first EGNOS L-band payload hosted by SES is located on the SES-5 satellite, which was launched in the second half of 2012 to 5 degrees East. SES is currently working with the European Commission on the acceptance procedure of the payload. The second payload will be hosted on the ASTRA 5B satellite, which is scheduled for launch in 2013 and will be positioned at 31.5 degrees East.
How EGNOS Works
The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is a satellite-based system that complements the GPS system by sending integrity signals in real-time. EGNOS provides multiple redundant signals to enable safe aircraft landings and other critical navigation decisions.
EGNOS provides enhancements for accuracy, availability, continuity and integrity. These parameters relate to the trust which can be placed in the information, including timely warnings for the user when navigation systems (or data provided by the systems) should not be used for navigation. This is particularly important to ensure safe aircraft landings in bad weather conditions and for marine vessels to safely navigate through narrow or congested waters during times of bad visibility. Correction data improves the accuracy of current GPS services from about 10m to about 2m.
The payloads hosted by SES on ASTRA 4B and ASTRA 5B form part of the EGNOS space segment, which is composed of several geostationary satellites that distribute the EGNOS signals. On the user side, multiple types of EGNOS receiver terminals are being developed for various types of users. The ground segment is composed of stations/centers which are mainly distributed in Europe and are interconnected through a terrestrial network.
- 34 Ranging and Integrity Monitoring Stations (RIMS): receive the original navigation system satellite signals and send this information to the control and processing centers. The EGNOS extension program envisages the deployment of 7 additional RIMS.
- 4 control and processing centers (MCCs) receive the information from the RIMS and generate correction messages to improve satellite signal accuracy and information messages on the status of the satellites. The MCC acts as the EGNOS system ‘brain.’
- 6 stations that access the geostationary satellites: they receive the correction messages, upload the data stream to the geostationary satellites and generate the GPS-like signal. This data is then distributed to European users via the geostationary satellite.
In addition, the system has support installations on the ground that perform system operations planning and performance assessment.
EGNOS is Europe’s first venture into satellite navigation and a major stepping-stone towards Galileo, Europe’s own future global satellite navigation system. It was developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) under an agreement between the European Commission (EC), the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) and ESA. In 2009, the ownership of the EGNOS assets were transferred from the European Space Agency to the European Commission, which now manages and finances the entry of EGNOS into the service provision phase.
More Information on Hosted Payloads:
Leveraging Commercial SATCOM for SSA Mission Area
Commercial Satellites as SSA Sensor Hosts
Paper by Vice President of Hosted Payloads Tim Deaver
Via Satellite Tech Focus Report
National Space Policy 2010