Featured Image Source: SirusXM
SiriusXM Radio contracted SpaceX as launch provider to deploy its seventh music-beaming SXM-7 satellite into orbit. A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch the satellite on Thursday, October 29th at 8:00 p.m. EDT. from Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida [date is subject to change].
SXM-7 is a large high-power broadcasting satellite for SiriusXM's digital audio radio service that enables subscribers to stream personalized music and podcasts to their cars’ radio or online. Satellite radio enables a more stable connection that traditional terrestrial frequency modulation (FM) radio stations. For example, when you listen to FM radio in your car, if you travel too far away from your city, your radio station’s signal fades into static. FM radio signals can only cover around 48 to 64 kilometers from their source. SiriusXM Radio provides uninterrupted radio service from its satellites in space, which are capable of broadcasting signal down to Earth from over 35,000 kilometers away You could drive across the United States without having to scan for a new radio station, nor losing signal. In fact, many car manufacturers collaborate with Sirius XM to add the service as a vehicle feature. In August Tesla included a three-month trial subscription of the SiriusXM satellite radio service in their Model X and Model S electric vehicles.
As of May 2017, the company has 5 satellites in orbit: XM-3 and XM-4 and two Sirius FM-5 and FM-6 satellites, as well as one spare. In 2016, FM-6 was put into operational service and replaced Sirius originals FM-1 through FM-2 satellites. FM-1 through FM-3 were retired and placed into disposal orbits.
Currently the only operational satellites are FM-5 and FM-6. Once in operation, the SXM-7 satellite will replace the company’s XM-3 satellite. SXM-7 will be capable of generating over 20-kilowatts of power; It features a giant antenna reflector, which transmits signal to radios without the need for large dish antennas on Earth ground stations.