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XM’s Third Bird Launched

XM's Third Bird Launched

XM-3 is in orbit. Using a Zenit-3SL rocket, Sea Launch launched XM Satellite Radio’s third spacecraft Monday night from a platform in the Pacific Ocean on the equator.
The Boeing 702 satellite was inserted into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, 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, noted XM.
Sea Launch also launched XM’s previous satellites, XM-1 and XM-2, into space. XM-3 and a fourth satellite to be launched in 2007 will replace XM-1 and XM-2 as a solar array problem is ending their lifespan early. XM has negotiated all but 20 percent of the replacement cost from its satellite insurer and is in arbitration for the remaining amount, executives have said.