Current Mission: XM-3

Sea Launch is now preparing for the launch of XM Satellite Radio’s XM-3 satellite, on February 16. Liftoff is expected at the opening of a one-hour launch window, at 7:53pm PST (Feb. 17, 3:53 GMT). Built by Boeing Satellite Systems, the 702-model spacecraft will augment the existing XM satellite system. Sea Launch successfully lifted to orbit the XM-1 and XM-2 satellites in 2001.

Payload – XM-3

From its equatorial launch site at 154 degrees West Longitude, a Zenit-3SL vehicle will lift the 4703 kg (about 10,368 lb.) XM-3 satellite to an optimized perigee geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), on its way to a final orbital position at 85 degrees West Longitude. Like its sister spacecraft, XM-1 and XM-2, XM-3 will transmit more than 130 channels of digital-quality music, news, sports, talk, comedy and children’s programming to subscribers across the continental United States.

XM-3 is the tenth Boeing 702 manufactured by Boeing Satellite Systems in El Segundo, Calif. The Boeing 702, the most powerful satellite built today, provides government and commercial customers with 18 kilowatts of total power at beginning of life. Boeing Satellite Systems is the world’s leading manufacturer of government and commercial communications satellites. Boeing Satellite Systems’ manufacturing and process initiatives were validated in 2004 with the Software Engineering Institute’s Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 5 certification and Aerospace Standards (AS) 9100 certification. XM Satellite Radio is America’s leading satellite radio service. Broadcasting live daily from studios in Washington, DC, New York City and Nashville at the Country Music Hall of Fame, XM Radio broadcasts more than 130 digital channels of choice from coast to coast: 68 one-hundred-percent commercial-free music channels, featuring hip hop to opera, classical to country, bluegrass to blues; more than 40 channels of premier sports, talk, comedy, children’s and entertainment programming; and 21 channels of the most advanced traffic and weather information for major metropolitan areas nationwide.

Mission Profile

On this mission, a Zenit-3SL launch vehicle will liftoff from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned on the Equator, and insert the XM-3 commercial digital radio broadcast satellite into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. The weight of the spacecraft, fully fueled at the time of launch, will be approximately 4703 kg (10,346 lbs). Two-and-a-half minutes after liftoff, the first stage will separate and then the payload fairing will jettison. About five minutes later, the second stage will separate from the Block DM upper stage. After the first burn of the Block DM engine, the spacecraft will coast for about 30 minutes. Following this coast, the Block DM will make a second burn and then separate from the spacecraft about 14 minutes later, above the coast of Gabon, Africa.

Launch Timeline  TimeEvent
 L= 0:00:00          Liftoff
 L+ 0:02:30          Stage 1 Separation
 L+ 0:03:46          Payload Fairing Jettison
 L+ 0:08:31          Stage 2 Separation
 L+ 0:08:41          Block DM 1st Burn Ignition
 L+ 0:47:09          Block DM 2nd Burn Ignition
 L+ 1:00:58          Spacecraft Separation
 L+ 1:01:00          Spacecraft Acquisition (estimated time)