The Sea Launch press release is reproduced below:
LONG BEACH, Calif., October 16, 2006 –The Sea Launch team is preparing for its fifth mission of 2006, the launch of the XM-4 satellite. The Odyssey Launch Platform and the Sea Launch Commander have departed from Home Port in Long Beach, California, and are on their way to the launch site on the Equator to begin launch operations. Liftoff is planned at the opening of a 58-minute launch window beginning at 4:49pm Pacific Daylight Time (23:49 GMT) on October 26.
The Sea Launch vessels are sailing approximately 3,000 miles to the equatorial launch site in international waters of the Pacific Ocean at 154 degrees West Longitude. Upon arrival, the launch team will initiate a 72-hour countdown, ballasting the Launch Platform 65 feet, to launch depth, and performing final tests on the launch system and the spacecraft. A Zenit-3SL vehicle will lift the 5,193 kg (11,448 lbs.) XM-4 satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to a final orbital position of 115 degrees West Longitude.
Built by the Boeing Satellite Development Center, the Boeing 702 spacecraft carries a high-power S-band Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS) payload built by Alcatel Alenia Space. Like the three XM satellites currently operating in orbit, XM-4 will accommodate XM’s direct broadcast of radio programming to cars, homes and portable radios throughout the continental United States and parts of Canada.
The XM-4 satellite will have 18 kilowatts of total power at the beginning of life on orbit. Specified for a 15-year lifespan, Sea Launch’s direct insertion into equatorial orbit is designed to yield additional years of service life. This is Sea Launch’s fourth launch for XM Satellite Radio, completing previous XM missions in March 2001, May 2001 and February 2005.
Sea Launch will carry live coverage of the XM-4 mission via satellite and also streaming video on the Sea Launch website. We will provide coverage specifics as operations begin at the launch site.
About Sea Launch Company
Sea Launch Company, LLC, headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., 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 robust Zenit-3SL rocket can lift a heavier spacecraft mass or provide longer life on orbit, offering best value plus schedule assurance. Sea Launch is building a legacy, with one successful launch, one satisfied customer, at a time. For additional information and images of this successfully completed mission, please visit the Sea Launch website at: www.sea-launch.com
Source: Sea Launch Press Release