Status Report

Sea Launch Sails to Equator to Launch First XM Radio Satellite

By SpaceRef Editor
January 2, 2001
Filed under ,

The Odyssey Launch Platform and
the Sea Launch Commander are on their way to the Equator, in preparation for
launch of the XM-1 satellite.
The 37.5-minute launch window will open at
2:35 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time), on Jan. 8.

The vessels are sailing approximately 3,000 miles from Long Beach, Calif.,
to the launch site located on the Equator at 154 degrees West Longitude, in
open waters of the Pacific Ocean.
The 200-foot Zenit-3SL rocket will lift the
10,322 lb. (4,682 kg) XM-1 commercial digital audio broadcast satellite to
Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
Its final position will be at 85 degrees West
This is the first of Sea Launch’s two back-to-back missions for
XM Satellite Radio, Inc., in the first quarter of 2001.

During transit to the launch site, the Sea Launch expendable launch
vehicle is positioned horizontally at the top of the self-propelled Launch
Platform in an environmentally-controlled hangar.
A day before liftoff, the
rocket will be rolled out of the hangar and automatically erected to a
vertical position on the launch pad.
The Sea Launch Commander — also called
the Assembly and Command Ship (ACS) — provides customer and crew
accommodations and houses the launch control center.
At the time of launch,
the ACS will be positioned 3.5 miles from the then vacated Launch Platform.

This mission will lift the first of two of the most powerful spacecraft
— named Rock (XM-2) and Roll (XM-1) — built by Boeing Satellite Systems, the
world’s leading manufacturer of commercial communications satellites.
Each of
the Boeing 702 model satellites will generate 18 kilowatts of total power at
the beginning of life in orbit.
To provide 15 years of service, the Boeing
702 carries the flight-proven xenon ion propulsion system (XIPS) for all
on-orbit maneuvering. Alcatel Espace of Toulouse, France, provided the high-
power, S-band, Digital Audio Radio Service payloads.

XM Radio is creating and packaging up to 100 channels of digital-quality
programming from country to classical, which it will broadcast directly to
vehicle, home and office throughout the continental United States.
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
country’s leading artists, producers and radio format designers.

Sea Launch Company, LLC, is a global launch provider serving a global
Headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., this multinational
partnership provides commercial satellite customers the most direct and
cost-effective route to geosynchronous transfer 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, visit the Sea Launch website

SpaceRef staff editor.