If the potential rewards are pretty clear, why aren’t hosted payload partnerships used more frequently than they have been thus far? Ellen Hoff, president of W.L. Pritchard & Co., L.C., a Bethesda, Md.-based consulting firm asked.
“In my view, a successful host venture, like any cooperative undertaking, requires both technical compatibility and operational compatibility,” Hoff said. Such a partnership also requires mutually understood operating procedures, she added.
“Technical compatibility can be enhanced if, before embarking seriously on a hosted payload venture, each side performs its own due diligence on technical compatibility of the host satellite and hosted payload,” Hoff said. “Such an examination would include the intended orbital location and service coverage area for the host satellite, compared to the desired location and coverage for the hosted payload, the power available versus desired, frequency compatibility, space on the host satellite for the desired host payload antenna arrays, redundancy of key components, and the intended design life of the host satellite and hosted payload.
A 20-year payload should not go on a satellite with a 10-year design life, though the converse could be mutually advantageous.” In addition, technical compatibility also includes scheduling, Hoff said. “Is the hosted payload one with a potentially long and risky development process? Hoff asked.
“Can the bus owner afford to hold up launch of its satellite if the hosted payload is not ready for integration on the expected schedule?” Operational compatibility includes defining the access that the hosted payload has to the host satellite power, Hoff said. “What if the solar arrays malfunction? Hoff asked.
“What if the hosted payload needs more power than expected? What share of onboard redundancy does the hosted payload have access to, compared to the host satellite operator? Is his service preemptible or nonpreemptible? What will happen if the host satellite operator wants to move his satellite during the course of its operational life?” Hosted payload arrangements are likely to involve some loss of flexibility for both the host satellite operator and the hosted payload owner, Hoff cautioned. “Many of these [issues] can be resolved with proper advance planning,” Hoff said.
“Hosting arrangements can offer advantages to each side, with solid advance planning.” Hoff is one of the most accomplished women in the satellite industry.
As the president of a prominent consulting firm once headed by the late and legendary engineer Wilbur Pritchard, PhD,i she has been honored with awards that include 2011 induction into the Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) Hall of Fame.
Hoff also was elected a National Board Member of the SSPI in 2003, before serving President and then Chairman from 2004-2005. In addition, she served as President of the SSPI Mid-Atlantic Chapter, the organization’s largest chapter. Her other accomplishments are numerous. She was elected a member of the Pacific Telecommunications Council Advisory Council and served as guest editor of the International Journal of Satellite Communications and contributed to the Online Journal of Space Communication.
Hoff received her B.A. from Harvard University and her M.A. from the George Washington University. She also completed Colgate Darden Business School Executive Management Seminars.
Paul Dykewicz is a seasoned satellite industry journalist who has covered the development of satellite television, satellite radio, satellite broadband and hosted payloads.