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In 1990, Sirius came in to being. In 1997, it became the first radio
service to obtain a licence from the FCC. Unfortunately, a series of
technical problems forced the company to delay its launch until July
2002. By then XM had been in service for about year. This is why XM
has mre subscribers than Sirius. In essence, they got a head start!

SIRIUS delivers digital-quality sound to their subscribers through the
use of a "constellation" of three identical satellites. These three Sirius
satellites travel in unique orbits which travel outside the Earth's in an
inclined and eccentric path, optimized to ensure full radio coverage
for the continental United States.
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The Satellites travel to the northern latitudes to provide high-elevation
angles, typically from 60 to 70 degrees above the horizon. The velocity
and trajectory of the satellites have been configured in such a way to
ensure that whenever one satellite crosses the equator into the
southern hemisphere and out of optimal broadcasting range, another
satellite turns on its payload and passes into the northern hemisphere
to take its place. This is done to ensure that the signal is uninterrupted
at all times. The altitude of the SIRIUS satellites ranges from 15,200 to
29,280 miles above the surface of the earth, with maximum speeds of
9,050 mph being achieved daily.

Each Sirius satellite is powered by a total of ten solar panels, each
continually orienting itself and its solar arrays to keep the panels
pointed at the sun. At the same time, the vehicle must point the
spacecraft antennas at the earth to keep the music, sports and
entertainment going.

SIRIUS uses two ground station facilities in Ecuador and Panama to
maintain constant contact with all three satellites. These are regions in
the world where world (near the equator) where the SIRIUS satellites
can be kept in view 24 hours per day. There is a third location in New
York City from which SIRIUS personnel operates the Ecuador and
Panama facilities. A fourth site nearby in Vernon, New Jersey is
used by SIRIUS to uplink their radio channels and live studio shows
to the satellites.

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