CHANTILLY, Va. - A piece of satellite radio history is joining the Smithsonian Institution's collection.
SiriusXM Radio and satellite maker Space Systems/Loral are donating one of the first satellites to provide space-based digital radio service in the U.S. and Canada to the National Air and Space Museum.
The companies are donating a Sirius FM-4 satellite unit. It was a flight-ready back up that was part of a group of three developed by SiriusXM. The gift was announced Thursday.
The satellite is going on display at the museum's space hangar in northern Virginia.
The Smithsonian says space-based technology has expanded the scale and reach of commercial radio to cover most of North America. It's part of a history of communications satellites shifting in the 1970s from mostly government use to serve more private industries.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)