Press Release

Boeing-built Satellite for XM Satellite Radio Successfully Launched

By SpaceRef Editor
October 31, 2006
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Following a successful launch last night of the Boeing-built XM-4 satellite, Boeing [NYSE: BA] has acquired the first signal from the satellite, indicating that the spacecraft is healthy and operating as planned. Over the coming weeks, the satellite will be maneuvered up to geostationary orbit where a series of in-orbit deployments and tests will be conducted to ensure that the satellite meets its specifications and is ready to begin operations for XM Satellite Radio, Inc., the Washington, D.C.-based provider of the nation’s leading satellite radio service.

Sea Launch’s Zenit-3SL vehicle lifted off at 6:49 pm EST (3:49 pm PST; 23:49, GMT) and the powerful Boeing 702’s first signals were received approximately 63 minutes later at the Hartebeesthoek ground station in South Africa. “XM Satellite Radio now reaches more than 7 million subscribers and Boeing is very proud of our partnership,” said Steve O’Neill, president of Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc. “XM-4, also known as ‘Blues’, is the 13th Boeing 702, our most powerful satellite product line, and joins ‘Rhythm,’ which was successfully launched in February 2005.”

As with the first three XM spacecraft, Alcatel Alenia Space of Toulouse, France provided the S-band Digital Audio Radio Service payload for XM-4. XM-4 also features a number of upgrades including a bi-propellant back up to its Xenon Ion Propulsion System (XIPS). The satellite also is using advanced triple junction solar cells. The cells make possible the 18 kilowatts of power the satellite can generate at the start of service and the 16.3 kilowatts at the end of its 15-year design life.

SpaceRef staff editor.