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XM'S "Roll" Begins Broadcasting

XM Satellite Radio’s second satellite, dubbed “Roll,” has been formally handed over to XM by Boeing Satellite Systems and has begun broadcasting. Roll reached its final position in geostationary orbit at 85 degrees West Longitude, roughly above Detroit.

XM took possession of Roll this afternoon, after the spacecraft completed in-orbit testing. According to a company announcement, the satellite, launched May 8, is performing beyond expectations and has begun broadcasting XM’s channels as part of the preparation for XM’s commercial launch later this summer.

“Roll’s” sister ship, “Rock” has been at its final position at 115 degrees West Longitude (approximately above Salt Lake City) since last month. By using two powerful satellites, each with the same nationwide coverage, XM will ensure maximum signal and system reliability.

Commenting on the successful testing and transfer, Derek de Bastos, vice president, of XM’s space segment, said, “XM’s space infrastructure is complete. We have groundstations uplinking our original content, fully operational tracking stations and two satellites operating perfectly.”

All three XM satellites-“Rock,” “Roll,” and a spare which is built and in its final testing phase-are Boeing 702 models. The XM spacecraft carry a unique digital audio radio payload. Built by Alcatel Space Industries, the payload features two active transponders generating approximately 3,000 watts of RF signal power, making it the most powerful commercial satellite ever built.  

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