Ten years ago today — March 18, 2001 — XM-Radio launched its first satellite.
(XM-2 launch. Sea Launch photo. Click to enlarge.)
Known as XM-2, or XM “Rock”, the spacecraft was launched by Sea Launch from the converted oil well platform “Odyssey.” A few weeks later, in May of 2001, another Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket launched XM-1, nicknamed XM “Roll”. Today, the XM portion of SiriusXM Radio uses similar spacecraft known as “Rhythm” and “Blues.”
A few years after this launch, I got to go out on a Sea Launch mission as one of the space technology security monitors for the Defense Technology Security Adminsitration. As I’ve said before, it was one of the most interesting temporary duty assignments of my Air Force career.by