SpaceX will launch SiriusXM’s SXM-8 satellite to upgrade the radio broadcasting constellation that provides service to around 34.9 million subscribers in the United States. The music-beaming satellite will replace the company’s old XM-4 satellite in geostationary orbit. SXM-8 is the second of two next-generation high power S-band broadcast satellites manufactured by Maxar Technologies for SiriusXM.
SXM-8 arrives at SpaceX’s facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Source: Maxar
The SXM-8 satellite will be launched atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on June 1st at 12:25 a.m. Eastern Time [date is subject to change] from Launch Complex-40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The SXM-8 satellite arrived at the SpaceX facility in Cape Canaveral early May, where teams are preparing to integrate the vehicle inside the rocket’s fairing. “The satellite, which weighs almost 7,000 kg during launch, is built on Maxar’s 1300-CLASS PLATFORM. SXM-8 is designed to provide service for 15 years or longer,” Maxar shared in a press release. “Once on orbit, SXM-8 will unfurl its large antenna reflector, visualized in yellow in the rendering below. This reflector will allow SiriusXM programming to reach mobile radios, such as those in moving vehicles.”
Source: Maxar Technologies
“Maxar and SiriusXM have a decades-long relationship, and we’re thrilled to deliver the ninth satellite we’ve built for them since 2000,” said Paul Estey, Maxar’s Executive Vice President, Space Programs Delivery. “SXM-8, built on Maxar’s proven 1300-class bus, is more than twice as big and powerful as the first-generation SiriusXM constellation built by Maxar.”
Last year, on December 13, SpaceX launched SiriusXM’s SXM-7 satellite atop a Falcon 9. The launch was a success, however, SiriusXM and Maxar Technologies revealed problems with SXM-7 in January 27 filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “During in-orbit testing of SXM-7, events occurred which have caused failures of certain SXM-7 payload units,” SiriusXM said in the report. “An evaluation of SXM-7 is underway. The full extent of the damage to SXM-7 is not yet known.” A company spokesperson made it clear that despite the failure, SiriusXM still has control over the satellite and can maneuver it in space and that SXM-7's in-orbit failure does not affect the radio broadcasting service. Which confirms that the spacecraft is still intact and that Maxar could continue to work remotely to bring it back online. The company has not provided a recent update of the SXM-7 vehicle in orbit.
Deployment of SXM-7 confirmed pic.twitter.com/DWi7nXs1TT— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 13, 2020
All Images Source: Maxar Technologies
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.