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SiriusXM satellite joins Smithsonian collection

Friday - 10/19/2012, 4:03pm  ET

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.

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