Here’s Why Sirius Must Add 600 New Ground Terminals

Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) will need 600 new ground repeaters installed throughout North America in preparation for the retirement of three satellites currently in highly elliptical orbit around the Earth.

The company plans to replace the three elliptical-orbit satellites with two conventional geostationary orbiting satellites, thus necessitating the additional 600 terminals on the ground.

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Due to better look angles offered by highly elliptical orbits, those particular satellites require far less terrestrial repeaters than do their standard counterparts. But, with the new plans to switch satellite orbits to geostationary, Sirius will need more terminals to maintain its proud 99.95 percent service reliability.

Sirius technical executive Robert D. Briskman said he expects the transition should take place sometime in 2013 once the new satellites are successfully launched into their geostationary orbits and the old ones are officially retired. Radio customers on board will then have their service transferred, hopefully with minimally interruptions.

Briskman suggested the elliptical-orbit satellites being retired might be used for other purposes, but declined to discuss any further details.

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