US: Space Systems/Loral (SSL) has been selected by the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) to work with US Government agencies to host government payloads on commercial satellites. The SMC awarded SSL an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for geostationary (GEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO)/Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) missions. Valued at a maximum of USD 494.5 million, the Hosted Payload Solutions (HOPS) contracts pre-qualify SSL to bid on opportunities for hosted payloads, which can help the US Government get a variety of missions to orbit by integrating them with commercial satellites. The hosted payload concept speeds access to space and reduces space segment cost for both government and commercial missions.
In addition to offering hosted payloads, which remain attached to their host satellite, SSL is working with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to design and implement a unique new capability that will accommodate what DARPA calls the Payload Orbital Delivery System (PODS). PODS enables affordable delivery of free-flying spacecraft beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) by releasing them from a commercial spacecraft, such as the SSL 1300, while in geo-transfer orbit or after the satellite reaches its final orbital location. This capability can be leveraged for a broad range of missions such as satellite servicing, or science and technology space missions and demonstrations.