Sea Launch Lofts Newest XM Broadcast Satellite

A Zenit-3SL rocket blasted off from the floating Sea Launch platform on Tuesday, placing the newest broadcast satellite for XM Satellite Radio into orbit. The rocket lifted off at 2349 UTC (6:49pm EST), and reached a geosynchronous transfer orbit a few minutes later. The Boeing-built XM-4 satellite will join a fleet of three other spacecraft for XM Satellite Radio, and provide digital radio programming to receivers in North America.

Sea Launch Company today successfully delivered the XM-4 broadcast satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). Early data indicate the spacecraft is accurately positioned and in excellent condition.

A Zenit-3SL vehicle lifted off at 3:49 pm Pacific Standard Time (23:49 GMT) from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned at 154 degrees West Longitude in the equatorial Pacific. All systems performed nominally throughout the flight. The Block DM upper stage inserted the 5,193 kg (11,448 lbs.) spacecraft into geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to final orbital position of 115 degrees West Longitude. A ground station at Hartebeesthoek, near Pretoria, South Africa, acquired the first signal from the satellite in orbit.

Built by the Boeing Satellite Development Center, the Boeing 702 spacecraft carries a high-power S-band Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS) payload provided by Alcatel Alenia Space. Like the three XM satellites currently in orbit, XM-4 will support XM Radio’s direct broadcast of digital radio programming to cars, homes and portable radios throughout the continental United States and Canada.

Following the completion of the XM-4 mission, Rob Peckham, president and general manager of Sea Launch, congratulated XM Satellite Radio. “Successfully launching this fourth satellite for XM Radio is extremely satisfying for Sea Launch. The success of the XM-4 mission reconfirms a strong and valuable relationship between two goal-oriented companies. We are proud to be XM Satellite Radio’s launch service provider of choice.”

“I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Sea Launch team for another outstanding mission. Without the team’s expertise and dedication to excellence, we could not have realized today’s significant accomplishment.”

The XM-4 satellite will have 18 kilowatts of total power at the beginning of life on orbit. Specified for a 15-year lifespan, Sea Launch’s direct insertion into equatorial orbit is designed to yield additional years of service life. This is Sea Launch’s fourth successful launch for XM Satellite Radio, completing previous missions in March 2001, May 2001 and February 2005.

Original Source: Boeing News Release