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Broadcast Satellite Launch Reset

January 11, 2001

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ The launch of a digital radio satellite from Sea Launch Co.’s oceangoing platform was halted so close to ignition this week that the rocket being used will have to be returned to California to be readied for a second attempt.

The launch of the XM-1 satellite has been rescheduled for Feb. 28, Sea Launch Co. said. The satellite’s twin, XM-2, will now be launched in mid-April.

The new schedule will allow XM Satellite Radio Inc. of Washington, D.C., to begin its subscription broadcast service this summer, Sea Launch said. XM plans to broadcast 100 channels of programming directly to consumers with special digital satellite radios.

The XM-1 was supposed to have been launched Monday from Sea Launch Co.’s self-propelled launch pad Odyssey, floating in the Pacific on the equator.

The Zenit-3SL rocket was just seconds from liftoff Monday when a possible problem with the satellite was detected and the countdown was halted.

There was actually nothing wrong with the XM-1 but some of the rocket’s pre-ignition processes had already begun, requiring a re-start of a 50-day launch preparedness cycle, Sea Launch said.

Odyssey and its accompanying command ship were returning to Sea Launch’s home port at Long Beach, Calif.

Sea Launch is an international consortium led by Boeing Co. Its partners are RSC-Energia of Russia, Anglo-Norwegian Kvaerner Group of Norway and SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash of Ukraine.

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On the Net:

Sea Launch Co.: http://www.sea-launch.com

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