Monday, September 04, 2006

Breaking News: Sirius Requests Authority to Launch Geostationary Satellite

On September 01, 2006, Sirius requested authority from the FCC to launch its geostationary satellite:

"Sirius hereby requests authority to launch and operate Sirius FM-5, a geostationary satellite, to provide satellite digital audio radio services to our subscribers and to Sirius Canada's subscribers in the 48 contiguous states and Canada."


Status: Filed - awaiting fee verification

Technical Highlights:

  1. The satellite, like the others, will act as a bent pipe.
  2. Consequently, it will be compatible with current and next generation radios.
  3. The requested location is 96 W.L., roughly center of NA.
  4. Will serve co-terminous US and Canada.
  5. Only two of the four satellites will be used at any given time. All four will be used. (Perhaps they have changed their mind on how they will use the satellites. Maybe now they won't see a reduction in life for two of their satellites. Before, they seemed to indicate that they would have to shift two satellites around, which would have expended fuel, deceasing the life of the two satellites.)
  6. Will transmit at either 2322.29 MHz (Ch 1) or at 2330.21 (Ch 2) using 4.5 MHz bandwidth, using LHCP on the downlink.
  7. EIRP received at car -116.4 dBW; Flux density, -87.6 dBW/M^2.
  8. At a minimum, the satellite will transmit at 3 times during the day, "when one 'live' NGSO spacecraft rapidly recedes south of the border, and before the service link shifts to the "rising" satellite next in line". (This is the first recognition that Sirius has reception issues during this time.)
  9. The geostationary satellite as well as their present satellites will use an "overlay modulation" technique, which will add an additional 1.35 Mb/s throughput.
  10. This "overlay modulation" technique will be implemented next year with their existing satellites.
  11. Will improve reliability and service quality.
  12. Improves spatial diversity.
  13. Chicage cited as an area where the elevation angle currently drops below 25 degrees less than an hour, 3 times a day. The GSO will improve the elevation to about 40 degrees. (The GSO is good news for Chicagoland. This is an area where numerous subscribers have noted reception issues.)
  14. It will be one of the most powerful satellites ever constructed, with end of life power capability of more than 20 KW, with a fifteen year service life.
  15. Includes a 9 M unfurlable mesh antenna.
  16. Launch mass 5,850 Kg total; fuel 3,050 Kg; payload, 560 Kg; satellite bus, 2,070 Kg.
  17. Will reduce the need for additional repeaters.
  18. Their existing ground spare (FM-4) will continue to serve as a spare for the NGSO satellites. It won't be launched unless there is a failure. Will take at least 6 months to launch, if needed.
  19. FM-5 can operate as a true "hot spare" to backup all other satellites.
  20. Correction: Construction is scheduled to be completed in 4Q2008.

The biggest news is the 30% increase in throughput. It won't happen until next year. Presumably, this will be required for back seat video. If that is the case, one could surmise that back seat video would not be available until next year (2007) at the earliest.

Lots more details, but those are some of the highlights.

PDF links:

Attachment A

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Anonymous said...

sure would like the links,to see it all the last comments from sirius were for a reduction in end life i also thought it could increase the usefull

Mars Gradivus said...

Due to overwhelming demand, the links are now posted. They are pdf files and will take a while to download, especially if you are on dialup.

From the description, it sounds like there will be no impact on the useful life of the existing satellites. Perhaps they are expecting the FCC to only allow them to use a total of three satellites, in which case, they would have to move a couple of them around to have a rising satellite every 12 hours rather than 8.

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