Post Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:46 am

Sirius Series enhanced by a new telecommunication satellite

The last days saw the launch of the newest platform of the XM Satellite Radio Holding Inc. XM-5 was built by Space Systems/Loral as a result of a contract won in June 2005 and finished 3 years later from the initial establishment. The launch was made by International Launch Systems.
The liftoff took place on 14th of October at 6:53 PM with the use of Baikonur space port hangar nr. 24. A Proton rocket in the Breeze M configuration lifted the new satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit. The XM-5 is the fifth XM Satellite Radio series platform, series which began in 2001 with XM-1 and XM-2 satellites and eventually continued in 2005(XM-3) and 2006(XM-4).
It’s the first time when the Boeing 702 basic platform is replaced with the LS-1300S in the same configuration that is used also for Echostar Satellite Services satellites, a Dishnetwork corporation subsidiary-in other words, Space Systems/Loral on the design/development part and ILS for launch.
The ILS company (International Launch Services) based in Virginia , USA, whose major shareholder is the Russian company Khrunichev Space Center- the Russian builder of the Proton rocket, has exclusive rights for the marketing of the transportation services to the commercial satellite operators from around the world.
Space Systems/Loral is a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications corporation that owns 64% of Canada’s Teles group and 56% of the group is partnered with HISDESAT (founded by Hispasat S.A and Spanish Ministry of Defence). Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, SS/L has started its activity 50 years ago and since then has managed to build more than 220 satellite for commercial purposes or government clients worldwide: APT Satellite, AsiaSat, Asia Broadcast Satellite, DIRECTV, DISH Networks, EchoStar, Globalstar, Hisdesat, Hispasat, Hughes Network Systems, ICO, Intelsat, Japan's Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation Bureau, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Optus (SingTel), SatMex, SES, Thaicom, Sirius XM Radio, Telesat, TerreStar Networks, ViaSat, WildBlue Communications or XTAR. Last year parent company, Loral Space & Communications announced revenues of 1.008 billion dollars, increasing from 2007 (814 million) and 2008 (881 million) and a total of 2,400 permanent employees and 150 employees.
The new satellite, weighing 5984 kg will operate for about 15 years from an 85.2 degrees west orbital slot. It features two large antennas and has generated an output of 19.5 kW minimum. The flight to orbit lasted 2 hours and 12 minutes and was a complex one, including an initial parking in a circular orbit followed by another four maneuvers that raised the height of the orbit and decreased the orbital plane inclination. At the moment of the separation from the rocket, the satellite was placed into a GTO orbit with perigee at 4235 km, apogee at 35737 km and a 22.84 degree inclination. In the few days elapsed since the satellite launch -which received in the meantime the ID 37185- used its onboard engines for orbital correction (in order to circularize and lower the orbital plan inclination to 0), so that now it flies into a GEO orbit, placed at 80 degree west orbital slot. For a month the team engineers will perform regular tests after launch and will turn on all equipment on board. The satellite will then be moved to the final operational position a few degrees longitude away.
This was the ninth launch of a Proton rocket in 2010, and the 62nd time when is used by the ILS.
The Proton rocket, which came into operation under the UR500 call, made its debut in a flight on 16th of July 1965. Since then it has managed to accomplish 360 flights with the most complex scenarios: was used to launch Russian interplanetary missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus and Comet Halley, to transport loads to the Mir station (and now to the ISS) and last but not least to transport commercial and military satellites into the orbit.
The Proton rocket is 58.2 meters long and weighs 705 tons in normal configuration. It is equipped with three engines and a system of boosters, with a length of 42.3 m and a diameter ranging between 4.1 and 7.4 m. On top of the rocket we found the additional Breeze M system which develops an additional force of up to 20kN and is equipped with a triaxial stabilization system, a navigation system and an onboard computer, being directly responsible for the quality of the orbital injection. In his case, the amount of fuel loaded depends on the mission’s target and is varied to optimize flight performance. The first stage of the rocket is powered by 6 RD-276 type engines that provide a total of 11MN. The second stage is powered by three type RD 210 engines, plus a type RD 211 type engine providing a total force of 2.4 MN. The third stage is powered by a type RD 213 engine with a 583 kN traction force, and the control and direction of the flight are made with triple redundant avionics system that controls 31kN motor with four nozzles. With this equipment, the rocket is capable to carry in a geostationary transfer orbit a mass of up to 6360 kg.
The Proton rocket’s launch will be continued on November 14th when on board will be the SkyTerra1 satellite, while the next Sirius satellite will be the FM6 platform which will fly in 2011(for compliance should be noted that the U.S. company is developing both XM and FM series of satellites in parallel, the latter having a highly elliptical orbit type Tundra 23975 km x 46983 km x 63.4 degrees and thus can serve the far North American region).
Founded in 1992 and currently valued at over 6 billion $, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., also known as Sirius Satellite Radio brand, is headquartered in Washington DC and its majority shareholder is Liberty Media Corporation, which owns 40% of the company’s shares. The company is focused on providing radio programs (presently over 130) to 19.5 million people in the Americas. Secondary services have been developed providing information about weather, navigation, traffic, etc.: SIRIUS Backseat TV ™, XM NavTraffic ®, SIRUS Traffic ™, XM ™ and SIRIUS Marine Weather Nav ™. In 2009 the company earned 2.53 billion dollars, increasing wit 4% from 2008, the only growth for a radio company in American economy.
Despite the slight decrease in the number of subscribers (257,000) revenue per subscriber increased by 2% reaching 10.56 dollars in 2009 from 10.73 dollars in 2008.