WASHINGTON, April 28, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More than 120 representatives from industry and government recently attended the first meeting of the Hosted Payload Alliance (HPA), an organization formed earlier this year to advance the use of hosted payloads on commercial satellites. The meeting took place April 11, 2011 immediately prior to the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.
Retired Gen. Lance W. Lord, former Commander, U. S. Air Force Space Command, moderated a panel of senior government officials who presented their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges associated with operationalizing the guidance outlined in the 2010 National Space Policy. The policy calls on government departments and agencies to explore the use of innovative, nontraditional arrangements – including hosted payloads – for acquiring commercial space goods and services to meet U.S. government requirements.
"A major goal of the Hosted Payload Alliance is to serve as a bridge between government and private industry to foster an open dialogue between potential users and providers of hosted payload capabilities," said Don Thoma, chairman of the HPA Steering Committee. "The fact that we brought together such a large and diverse group of attendees for the first general meeting of the Alliance is a clear validation of the need for this sort of forum."
Lord commented, "Federal budgets for many space programs are being reduced. Hosted payloads present an opportunity for the government to leverage commercial investments to provide access to space. But there is a lot of work to be done to align the government's operational requirements and timetables with the commercial constraints of the private sector when it comes to the details of acquiring, designing, manufacturing and deploying payloads into space."
The panel of experts discussed ways that the U.S. government would benefit from using commercial spacecraft to host certain missions. The benefits include significantly lower cost, shorter development cycle times, the opportunity to share orbital slot locations, and the ability to disaggregate assets for a more resilient space architecture.
Thoma noted that the HPA is not a lobbying organization, but strictly a group of companies interested in furthering the goals set forth in the National Space Policy. It will also have a strong educational focus, providing a source of industry expertise on hosted payloads on commercial satellites to stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
Steering Committee members are Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, Intelsat General Corporation, Iridium Communications Inc., Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Orbital Sciences Corporation, SES WORLD SKIES U.S. Government Solutions, and Space Systems/Loral. Membership will be open to other satellite operators, satellite manufacturers, system integrators and other interested companies. The Steering Committee is working to create an organizational structure and identify specific tasks and action plans for the group and will issue guidelines for prospective members to join the Alliance.
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