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Sea launch delivers XM-3 to orbit.
A Zenit-3SL rocket roared up from Sea Launch this morning, delivering a replacement satellite for XM satellite Radio. The rocket lifted off at 0351 GMT (10:51 pm EST Monday), and the XM-3 satellite reached its geosynchronous transfer orbit about an hour later. The launch had been delayed several times because of poor weather and ocean conditions at the launch site in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Sea Launch Company today successfully delivered XM satellite Radio's XM-3 satellite to orbit from its ocean-based platform on the Equator, in its first mission of the 2005 manifest. Early data indicate the spacecraft is in excellent condition.
The Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket lifted off at 7:51 pm PST ( 03:51 GMT , Mar. 1), precisely on schedule, from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned at 154 degrees West Longitude. All systems performed nominally throughout the flight. The Block DM-SL upper stage inserted the 4,703 kg (10,346 lb) XM-3 satellite into an optimized geosynchronous transfer orbit of 2468 km x 35786 km, on its way to an orbital location for routine testing prior to placement in its final orbital position at 85 degrees West Longitude. A ground station in South Africa acquired the spacecraft's first signal an hour after liftoff, as planned.
Built by Boeing satellite Systems, International, Inc., the XM-3 satellite is a 702 model spacecraft, one of the most powerful satellites built today, designed to provide 18 kilowatts of total power at beginning of life. Like its sister spacecraft, XM-1 and XM-2 – also launched by Sea Launch - XM-3 will transmit more than 150 channels of digital-quality music, news, sports, talk, comedy and children's programming to subscribers across the continental United States.
Immediately following the mission, Jim Maser, president and general manager of Sea Launch, said, "I want to congratulate Boeing satellite Systems and XM satellite Radio on today's successful mission. We are extremely proud to be able to provide another launch for both XM and Boeing and we look forward to continuing our long and mutually beneficial relationships. I also want to congratulate the entire Sea Launch team and thank each individual for their enormous contribution to today's mission."
Sea Launch Company, LLC, headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., and marketed through Boeing Launch Services (www.boeing.com/launch), is the world's most reliable heavy-lift commercial launch service. This international partnership offers the most direct and cost-effective route to geostationary orbit. With the advantage of a launch site on the Equator, the reliable Zenit-3SL rocket can lift a heavier spacecraft mass or provide longer life on orbit, offering best value plus schedule assurance. For additional information and images of this successfully completed mission, visit the Sea Launch website at: www.sea-launch.com
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