- the bomb load, warhead, cargo, or passengers of an aircraft, a rocket, missile, etc., for delivery at a target or destination.
- the total complement of equipment carried by a spacecraft for the performance of a particular mission in space.
- the explosive energy of the warhead of a missile or of the bomb load of an aircraft: a payload of 50 megatons.
Examples from the Web for payload
There is, of course, cheapness to be considered -- the dollar per kilogram bill for putting a payload into low earth orbit.
The X-37B has a payload bay about the size of a pickup truck bed.Will The Pentagon’s Secret Space Plane Ever Return to Earth?|Kyle Mizokami|April 7, 2014|DAILY BEAST
According to the Israeli press, the Eitan can fly for 20 straight hours and carry a payload of one ton.Israel's Secret Iran Attack Plan: Electronic Warfare|Eli Lake|November 16, 2011|DAILY BEAST
And I have only about twice the fuel supply you carry for a 100-ton payload.Atom Drive|Charles Louis Fontenay
"We could have postponed recovering the payload and helped you," Scotty said reproachfully.The Flying Stingaree|Harold Leland Goodwin
But those landing rockets and Lieutenant Commander Brown constituted all its payload.Space Tug|Murray Leinster
But his hand moved over his pad and he made an impatient go-on gesture with his head, swallowing some of his payload.Makers|Cory Doctorow
All the wrecks nest there while waiting hopefully for a payload or a grubstake.Turnover Point|Alfred Coppel
British Dictionary definitions for payload
- the passengers, cargo, or bombs carried by an aircraft
- the equipment carried by a rocket, satellite, or spacecraft
Word Origin and History for payload
also pay-load, 1917, from pay + load (n.). Originally the part of a truck's (later an aircraft's) load from which revenue is derived (passengers, cargo, mail); figurative sense of "bombs, etc. carried by a plane or missile" is from 1936.