A Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket today successfully lifted off from the Odyssey Launch Platform on the Equator at 2:33 p.m. PST, placing the XM-2 digital audio radio satellite into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) for XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR).
Named "Rock," the satellite is the first of two of the most powerful spacecraft ever built by Boeing Satellite Systems, the world's leading provider of commercial communications satellites. Sea Launch will immediately begin preparing for the launch of the second satellite, XM-1, called "Roll," for launch in May, bringing "Rock and Roll" to the far corners of the continental United States.
"We're just delighted this mission has gone off so well," said Will Trafton, president of Sea Launch, following today's launch. "Sea Launch is very excited to be part of the XM Radio endeavor and we'd like to thank Boeing Satellite Systems for making that happen. We now look forward to our next launch in May, with XM-1, making this next generation of radio broadcasting in America a reality. On this fifth successful mission for Sea Launch, preliminary injection data indicates that the spacecraft was inserted precisely into GTO with an injection accuracy of 22 meters high in perigee and 26.3 kilometers in apogee. In the space business, that's a bull's-eye!"
From the equatorial launch site at 154 degrees West Longitude, the Russian and Ukrainian Zenit-3SL rocket soared into space exactly on schedule. All systems onboard the three-stage expendable launch vehicle performed nominally. The Block DM upper stage separated from the satellite some 1,600 miles over the Indian Ocean, one hour and five minutes into the mission. Operators at a ground station in Perth, Australia acquired a signal from the satellite at approximately 3:43 p.m. PST. XM-2 will be positioned in Geosynchronous Orbit at 115 degrees West Longitude.
Designed for a 15-year lifespan, the 10,287-pound (4,666 kg) XM-2 is a Boeing 702 model spacecraft that will generate 18 kilowatts of total power at the beginning of life in orbit. It uses the flight-proven xenon ion propulsion system (XIPS) for all on-orbit maneuvering. Alcatel Space, of Toulouse, France, provided the high-power, S-band, Digital Audio Service payload. For more information about the spacecraft, go to the
Boeing Satellite Systems and
Alcatel Space web sites.
XM Satellite Radio is creating and packaging up to 100 channels of digital audio, including music, news, sports, talk, comedy and children's programming, which will be transmitted directly to vehicles, homes and offices coast to coast. 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 nation's leading artists, producers and radio format designers. For more information, go to the
XM Satellite Radio web site.
Sea Launch Company, LLC, is a global launch service serving a global marketplace. Headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., with operations based at Sea Launch Home Port in Long Beach Harbor, the multinational partnership provides commercial satellite customers the most direct and cost-effective route to geosynchronous 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, please go to the
Sea Launch web site.