Washington - Oct 30, 2006 - XM Satellite Radio successfully launched its XM-4 satellite. Liftoff occurred at 6:49 p.m. ET on Oct. 30 from the Sea Launch Odyssey Launch Platform in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean on the equator. The XM-4 satellite was inserted directly into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to an orbital location for in-orbit testing prior to placement in its final orbital position at 115 degrees west longitude. A ground station in South Africa acquired the first signal from the satellite in orbit as planned.
Built by the Boeing Satellite Development Center, the XM-4 spacecraft carries a high-power S-band digital audio radio service (DARS) payload provided by Alcatel Alenia Space. It replaces two co-located XM satellites currently at 115 degrees. The XM-4 satellite will have 18kW of total power at the beginning of life on orbit. It is specified for a 15-year lifespan. This is Sea Launch's fourth successful launch for XM Satellite Radio, completing previous missions in March 2001, May 2001 and February 2005.