Air Force Moves Forward on Hosted Payloads

The Air Force expects to award an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for commercially hosted satellite payloads by the end of the calendar year, said Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command. “That will basically provide a path to on-ramp capabilities,” he told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17. “It will lay the groundwork and make these bridges to hosted payloads easier to come by,” he noted. The Air Force has been discussing a move toward more commercially hosted payloads for years in an effort to get capabilities on orbit more quickly and at significantly reduced cost. The service’s experimental Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload, or CHIRP, reached orbit aboard an SES-2 communications satellite in September 2011. It was the Air Force’s first payload hosted on a commercial satellite.