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Sea Launch places radio satellite in orbit
Posted: Sun, Mar 18, 2001, 7:51 PM ET (0051 GMT)
Zenit-3SL launch A Sea Launch Zenit-3SL booster launched a commercial radio broadcast satellite Sunday afternoon. The rocket lifted off on schedule at 5:33 pm EST (2233 GMT) March 18 from its floating launch pad on the Equator in the Pacific Ocean southeast of Hawaii. Its payload, the XM-2 "Rock" communications satellite, separated 66 minutes after launch and successful contact was made with it in geosynchronous transfer orbit a few minutes later. XM-2, a Boeing 702 communications satellite, will be used by XM Satellite Radio to provide premium radio broadcasts for consumers in the United States. A second spacecraft, XM-1 or "Roll", was to have been launched on another Zenit-3SL in January but that launch was postponed after a last-minute scrub triggered by a satellite glitch forced the rocket to return to port for an overhaul; that launch has been rescheduled for May. The launch is the first this year for the multinational Sea Launch consortium, led by Boeing.
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