The Sea Launch vessels arrived yesterday at the launch site on the Equator, at 154 degrees West Longitude. The Sea Launch team immediately began preparations for launch, ballasting the Launch Platform to launch depth.
The 45-minute launch window will open at 2:33 p.m. PST, tomorrow, March 18, for the liftoff of the XM-2 digital audio radio satellite -- called "Rock" -- the most powerful commercial satellite ever built. The Boeing 702 model satellite will generate 18 kilowatts of total power at the beginning of life in orbit. Boeing Satellite Systems, the world's leading provider of commercial communications satellites, built the satellite for XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR) of Washington, D.C.
The Sea Launch Zenit-3SL launch vehicle will loft the 10,287 lbs (4,666 kg) payload to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, with the spacecraft separating from the upper stage at an altitude of about 1,600 miles above the Indian Ocean. Once in space, XM-2 will be positioned in Geostationary Orbit, 35,786 km (22,236 miles) above the Earth, at 115 degrees West Longitude. Designed for a 15-year lifespan, XM-2 -- together with its sister satellite XM-1, named "Roll" -- will provide up to 100 channels of coast-to-coast coverage, including music, news, sports, talk, comedy and children's programming.
Sea Launch will provide a live satellite broadcast and simultaneous webcast of the launch on March 18, beginning at 2:15 p.m. PST. The program will include a live video transmission from the Equator and commentary from Sea Launch Home Port.
Viewers in the United States may view the launch in NTSC on:
DirecTV will be broadcasting the launch on Channel 361. The live webcast may be accessed at: http://www.sea-launch.com/special/sea-launch/current_index_webcast.html.Members of the print and broadcast media seeking information and high-resolution images are directed to a media-specific site at: http://www.boeing.com/nosearch/sealaunch/index.html
Sea Launch is an international company of American, Russian, Ukrainian and Norwegian partners that provides an innovative, cost effective, heavy lift launch service for commercial satellite customers worldwide. For more information, please go to: http://www.sea-launch.com