Space Commerce

Hosted Payloads Report Sheds Light on Government & Industry Requirements

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
May 29, 2012
Filed under ,
Hosted Payloads Report Sheds Light on Government & Industry Requirements

Euroconsult, the leading international research and analysis firm specialized in the space sector, today announced the launch of its latest research report, “Hosted Payloads: The View From Within.”
Following discussions with the Hosted Payload Alliance (HPA), Euroconsult decided to pursue development of the report in order to identify and assess corresponding and conflicting perspectives from the key stakeholder groups directly involved in hosted payload programs. Based on an exhaustive survey, the views of eight key stakeholder groups were examined on the basis of risks, opportunities, challenges and requirements related to hosted payloads.

“We have completed more than 40 interviews with both industry and government representatives for our stakeholder survey and five in-depth case studies on U.S., European and Asia-Pacific hosted payloads,” said Susan Irwin, President of Euroconsult USA. “Our interview respondents were well-positioned to provide insights, as 84% have been directly involved in a hosted payload program. Moreover, of these programs nearly half have already been launched, so they were able to discuss the full life cycle from planning to service operation.”

“This report marks HPA’s first educational endeavor,” said Don Thoma, HPA Chairman. “We believe that this study truly furthers the initial goal of the Hosted Payload Alliance: To act as a source of subject-matter expertise to educate stakeholders in the public and private sectors on the numerous opportunities for hosted payloads on commercial launch spacecraft.”

Although the hosted payload concept dates back to the early seventies, it has only recently turned into a hot debate, with the establishment of industry associations such as the Hosted Payload Alliance augmenting awareness of the benefits of hosted government payloads on commercial satellites. In parallel, leading industry players are heavily promoting their own hosted payload capability. Due to budget restraints, government agencies around the world are increasingly open to adopting the hosted payload concept. As a result, the requirements for government and industry related to hosted payloads are converging. The report’s stakeholder survey confirms that industry and government respondents are aligned on key requirements such as schedule discipline, political commitment, a firm-fixed price contract for cost control, launch option flexibility and effective failure management procedures. The report also identifies key requirements of industry and government that can possibly clash.

Euroconsult’s report identified 50 hosted payloads launches in which primarily the U.S. and Europe have dominated the initiatives. Despite industry and government efforts, only 11 payloads are currently under contract and expected to be launched before 2015. Europe appears to have built up a steady flow of hosted payloads with ESA as the propelling force. Publicly announced follow-on missions in North America are still limited. Numerous initiatives are under discussion yet currently awaiting the commitment of leading government agencies such as NASA and the DoD to boost the deal flow over the next five years.

Through the interview process, Euroconsult found that 25% of industry and 33% of government respondents expressed concerns about prospects for hosted payload launches within the next five years. Nearly all respondents expect a steady flow of hosted payload programs to be launched in 10 years’ time, with military communication as the most attractive service application. Each stakeholder group has revealed a number of challenges that need to be overcome to unleash the full potential of the hosted payload model. Key challenges are considered to be the alignment of government and industry program schedules, compliance to the standard government procurement vehicle, schedule control, satellite relocation and the lack of compatible interfaces.

The five case studies as well as the stakeholder survey revealed lessons learned and best practices to manage and mitigate the key challenges related to hosted payloads. Crucial lessons learned include integrating relatively mature payloads and developing a catalog of hosted payloads and host satellites to minimize schedule delays as well as to facilitate the program matchmaking. Furthermore, the government will likely have to operate outside regular processes to obtain the budgetary and regulatory approvals. Planning the hosted payload integration early in the program and clearly defined technical interfaces will augment the compatibility of the interfaces between the hosted payload and the host satellite. Finally, trust and goodwill for making compromises between all parties involved has demonstrated to be instrumental for the success of the hosted payload program.
HPA and Euroconsult will be presenting the key findings in an online webinar in late June, 2012. For more information about the upcoming webinar, please contact

Report Profile

Sanctioned by the Hosted Payload Alliance (HPA), Hosted Payloads: The View From Within is an independent Euroconsult research report that assesses government payloads on commercial spacecrafts. The report is based on an extensive consultation process including over 40 interviews with top government and private executives. Key features of the report include a hosted payload program tracker, case studies, and a 360* stakeholders’ analysis/market survey.

About Euroconsult

Euroconsult is the leading international consulting and analyst firm specializing in space applications, communications, and digital broadcasting. Euroconsult provides strategic consulting and analysis, develops comprehensive research reports and forecasts, and organizes events including the annual World Satellite Business Week, the industry’s leading executive-level gathering ( With more than 25 years of experience Euroconsult has over 560 clients in 50 countries, including leaders throughout the satellite industry: satellite operators and service providers; government agencies; satellite manufacturers and launch service providers; equipment providers and integrators; media and broadcasting companies; and banks and investors. The company has completed over 500 satellite-related consulting projects. Euroconsult is based in Paris with offices in Montreal and Washington, DC.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.