The XM-5 satellite launched in October is now in its designated orbit. The new addition to the Sirius XM fleet has been declared “ready for service.”
XM-5 won’t actually be doing much yet. The new satellite, which was manufactured by Space Systems/Loral, is intended to serve as an in-orbit spare for the existing fleet of Sirius and XM satellites.
The XM-5 satellite (photographed while still earth-bound) was launched October 14 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard an International Launch Services (ILS) Proton. All orbit raising, deployments, and in orbit test are now successfully completed. The satellite will be situated at 85.2 degrees west longitude, over the eastern half of the United States. XM-5 is owned by XM Satellite Radio Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sirius XM.
“XM-5 will help ensure continuous and reliable delivery of service to millions of customers across North America,” said Terry Smith, Chief Engineering Officer, Sirius XM Radio. “XM-5 is intended to bolster the reliability and longevity of our satellite fleet for many years to come and we congratulate our engineering team, Space Systems/Loral and International Launch Services on a successful launch and implementation.”
RBR-TVBR observation: With a spare satellite in orbit, Sirius XM has some breathing room before it has to fork over big bucks for new satellites. Unlike broadcast towers, they do have a limited lifetime.