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Appendix D Commercial GEO-Satellite Hosted Remote Sensing D ramatic GEO remote-sensing cost reduction is being much less to grow capability. The reality is better. As shown demonstrated by the Commercially Hosted Infrared in Figure D.1 (FAA, 2009), on average about 20 commercial Payload (CHIRP) program, a U.S. Air Force (USAF) satellites were launched annually to 2009, and that trend research and development (R&D) effort scheduled for launch is expected to continue for the next decade. A commercial late 2011. Gary Payton, USAF Undersecretary, noted in GEO satellite host opportunity appears at least monthly, on October 2008 (Brinton, 2008): “The deal . . . was fantastic average. . . . a fourth-of-the-world view on orbit at geosynchronous, Once a sensor is assigned to a satellite, then the sensor and a year . . . of downlink data . . . for less than the cost of must be ready on the satellite’s schedule to be hosted by that a launch vehicle.” Per U.S. Department of Commerce Office satellite. If the sensor is delayed, then it is “off-ramped” from of Space Commercialization1: “The Air Force expects to the originally specified satellite host, and later “on-ramped” achieve major cost savings by flying this mission as a hosted to a subsequent satellite host. Considering the number of payload. They estimate it would cost approximately $500 satellites launched each year, it is likely a new host can be million to launch a dedicated free flyer to satisfy 100 percent found soon that will launch on a schedule compatible with of the technical questions associated with the experiment. the sensor delay. Moreover, while mission cost will rise to The hosted payload ended up costing $65 million and should accommodate the sensor delay and modifications to a new satisfy 80 percent of the technical questions.” host satellite, the commercially hosted mission can avoid Moreover, if CHIRP is launched in CY2011, then pro- much of the “marching army” costs associated with a delayed gram duration from July 2008 contract inception to initial dedicated satellite mission. The commercial hosting option operational configuration (IOC) will have been just three therefore offers dramatically lower cost than a dedicated sat- years. As is often the case with developmental remote sens- ellite mission with surprising schedule flexibility and almost ing missions, CHIRP has been paced by sensor progress. no data rate limitation other than the cost of renting sufficient The original launch date was in mid-CY2010, but the sensor transponder capacity. delivery date slipped. Unlike a dedicated mission, however, However, main hosted-sensor trade-offs need to be it was possible to shift to another satellite. This reduced considered, such as, the risk of a non-optimal host GEO much of the cost growth that might otherwise have dramati- longitude, and less control over the host satellite compared cally increased expenditures—cf. sensor delay impacts to to a dedicated mission. Satellite location and operations the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite “R” are driven by the primary commercial telecommunications Series (GOES-R) and the former National Polar-orbiting markets served by the satellite. Selecting a host based on Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) its anticipated operational longitude includes the risk that mission costs. The CHIRP program delay underscores an the satellite operator may later place the satellite at a dif- advantage of Group on Earth Observations (GEO)-hosting: ferent longitude, either before launch or after operations at Many host opportunities. the originally planned longitude. The satellite operator also There are 100-plus commercial telecommunications sat- typically will not allow a hosted sensor to drive satellite ellites in GEO, each with a nominal 15-year life. Therefore, maneuvers, though the operator can maneuver the satellite six must be replaced each year just to maintain operations, for sensor purposes with advance notice and coordination. 1 See http://www.space.commerce.gov/general/commercialpurchase/ hostedpayloads.shtml. 94
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95 APPENDIX D FIGURE D.1 Satellite and launch demand realized and forecast for the years 1993-2019. A dual manifest launch can launch two satellites D.1.eps at once. The green line depicts how many satellites were launched or are predicted to launch per year. On average, 20 commercial GEO bitmap satellites were launched each year to 2009, and this trend is expected to continue. SOURCE: FAA, 2009. Hosted GEO Ocean Color? parable to GOCI (NOAA, 2004; Faure, 2007). Therefore, CWI requirements suggest sensor dimensions (and mass) Combining the information from the Korean COMS-1 would be comparable to GOCI, as optical aperture and SNR Geostationary Ocean Color Imager (GOCI) and the CHIRP are the primary sensor dimensional drivers. As GOCI mass mission suggests a potentially attractive GEO ocean color is within the capacity of a commercial GEO satellite, CWI option. Coastal Waters Imaging (CWI) spectral require- capability may be practical within the dimensions, mass, ments are not substantially tighter in bandwidth than GOCI power, and data rate envelope for cost-effective commercial and the CWI signal-to-noise (SNR) requirements are com- GEO hosting.