The Odyssey Launch Platform and the Sea Launch Commander are on their way to the Equator, in preparation for launch of the XM-1 satellite. The 37.5-minute launch window will open at 2:35 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time), on Jan. 8.
The vessels are sailing approximately 3,000 miles from Long Beach, Calif., to the launch site located on the Equator at 154 degrees West Longitude, in open waters of the Pacific Ocean. The 200-foot Zenit-3SL rocket will lift the 10,322 lb. (4,682 kg) XM-1 commercial digital audio broadcast satellite to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. Its final position will be at 85 degrees West Longitude. This is the first of Sea Launch's two back-to-back missions for XM Satellite Radio, Inc. (Nasdaq: XMSR), in the first quarter of 2001.
During transit to the launch site, the Sea Launch expendable launch vehicle is positioned horizontally at the top of the self-propelled Launch Platform in an environmentally-controlled hangar. A day before liftoff, the rocket will be rolled out of the hangar and automatically erected to a vertical position on the launch pad. The Sea Launch Commander - also called the Assembly and Command Ship (ACS) - provides customer and crew accommodations and houses the launch control center. At the time of launch, the ACS will be positioned 3.5 miles from the then vacated Launch Platform.
This mission will lift the first of two of the most powerful spacecraft - named Rock (XM-2) and Roll (XM-1) - built by Boeing Satellite Systems, the world's leading manufacturer of commercial communications satellites. Each of the Boeing 702 model satellites will generate 18 kilowatts of total power at the beginning of life in orbit. To provide 15 years of service, the Boeing 702 carries the flight-proven xenon ion propulsion system (XIPS) for all on-orbit maneuvering. Alcatel Espace of Toulouse, France, provided the high-power, S-band, Digital Audio Radio Service payloads.
XM Radio is creating and packaging up to 100 channels of digital-quality programming from country to classical, which it will broadcast directly to vehicle, home and office throughout the continental United States. The XM sound will combine leading brand-name channels with distinctive formats produced in XM Radio's fully digital state-of-the-art studios by some of the country's leading artists, producers and radio format designers.
Sea Launch Company, LLC, is a global launch provider serving a global marketplace. Headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., this multinational partnership provides commercial satellite customers the most direct and cost-effective route to geosynchronous transfer orbit. With the advantage of a launch site on the Equator, the proven Zenit-3SL rocket can lift a heavier spacecraft mass or place a payload into a higher perigee, offering high performance and best value. For more information, visit the Sea Launch website at: www.sea-launch.com