The Odyssey Launch Platform and the Sea Launch Commander departed Home Port, in Long Beach, Calif., last week in preparation for launch of the "Roll" satellite (XM-1), from the Equator, at 154 degrees West Longitude. Sea Launch has set the official launch date for May 8, with a 45-minute launch window opening at 3:10 p.m. PDT (6:10 p.m. EDT).
The Sea Launch vessels are sailing approximately 3,000 miles to the equatorial launch site in open waters of the Pacific Ocean. The 200-foot Zenit-3SL rocket will lift the 4,672 kg (10,289 lb.) "Roll" commercial digital audio radio satellite to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. Its final position will be at 85 degrees West Longitude.
Built by Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS), "Roll" is one of two of the most powerful spacecraft ever built. The other is the "Rock" satellite (XM-2), now positioned in geostationary orbit at 115 degrees West Longitude, after a very successful Sea Launch mission on March 18. Together, "Rock" and "Roll" will provide seamless coverage across the continental United States of up to 100 channels of digital radio, including music, news, talk, sports and children's programming. Sea Launch is carrying out these back-to-back missions for BSS and XM Satellite Radio, Inc. (Nasdaq: XMSR), which plans to take its system operational later this summer.
Each of the XM satellites will generate 18 kilowatts of total power at the beginning of life in orbit. To provide 15 years of service, the Boeing 702 model spacecraft carry the flight-proven xenon ion propulsion system (XIPS) for on-orbit maneuvering. Alcatel Space of Toulouse, France, provided the high-power, S-band, Digital Audio Radio Service payloads.
Sea Launch Company, LLC, is a global launch provider serving the global marketplace. Headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., this multinational partnership provides commercial satellite customers the most direct and cost-effective route to geostationary orbit. With the advantage of a launch site on the Equator, the proven Zenit-3SL rocket can lift a heavier spacecraft mass or loft a payload to a higher perigee, providing both high performance and best value. For more information, visit the
Sea Launch website.