Friday, February 23, 2007

Satellite Drift Eclipsed

XM filed for a 90 day renewal of its application to operate XM-1 at the 115.1 WL before drifting it to its permanent location at 85.2 WL. XM-1 and XM-2 were colocated at the 115.1 WL location, where they operated as one satellite prior to the launch of XM-4. Now that XM-4 is in operation, XM-1 has ceased transmissions. The plan was to drift it to the 85.2 WL location to be near XM-3. XM had 180 days to complete the operation. However, XM encountered a minor complication.

XM-1 has already experienced degradation of its solar array concentrators. It is feared that further damaged could result due to the upcoming eclipse season (February 26 to April 13). Concentrator failures could lead to imbalances in the solar torque applied to the satellite, which could lead to instability, making the mission risky. XM requests the FCC to allow it to wait until after the eclipse season to make the final maneuver. The extension is in case of any unexpected delays.

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