Space Systems/Loral to build new satellite for Sirius


Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications, announced that it has been chosen by Sirius to build SIRIUS FM-5, a powerful new geostationary satellite for use in its satellite radio service.

Sirius FM-5 is expected to be completed in Q4 2008 and will carry an X-band uplink and S-band downlink payload. The satellite will be one of the most powerful ever constructed, with end-of-life power capability at more than 20 kilowatts. It will carry a range of technologies, including a 9-meter unfurlable reflector, which will allow for highly-concentrated transmissions to small, advanced devices. As part of its commitment, Loral has agreed to provide to Sirius a vendor financing facility of up to 100 million. The satellite will join three other Sirius satellites in orbit, all manufactured by SS/L. SS/L also manufactured Sirius FM-4, which is currently in ground storage.

RBR observation: This is likely a satellite that will be able to handle the next generation of satellite services—including data and info services and more robust transmission to handheld receivers (read: smaller antennas needed). It will obviously be able to handle the merged XM and Sirius offerings, should the merger be approved. We assumed way back in February (2/28/07 RBR #41) that a merged entity would offer a reduced price version—which Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin just recently announced. The new satellite may also be the one used for upcoming receivers which will be able to receive both services. Eventually, the bevy of extra XM and Sirius satellites could be sold or leased out to/for other services.