SpaceX successfully launched its 22nd NASA Commercial Resupply Services mission the International Space Station today, June 3rd. The company has a record-breaking launch manifest this year with planned launches at least once every week. SpaceX will launch SiriusXM’s SXM-8 satellite over the weekend to upgrade the radio service. “Next launch will be the SXM-8 mission on Sunday, June 6; the one-hour and 59-minute window opens at 12:26 a.m. EDT,” the company announced this afternoon.
Next launch will be the SXM-8 mission on Sunday, June 6; the one-hour and 59-minute window opens at 12:26 a.m. EDT— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 3, 2021
A previously-flown Falcon 9 booster, identified as B1061, will liftoff a third time to deploy the SXM-8 satellite from Launch Complex-40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This booster previously supported two crewed flights, SpaceX’s Crew-1 and Crew-2 mission. Soon after launching the satellite to orbit, SpaceX plans to recover B1061 to reuse on a future mission. The booster will land on SpaceX’s ‘Just Read The Instructions’ (JRTI) autonomous droneship which will be stationed around 642-kilometers downrange off Florida’s Coast. The JRTI droneship already departed to support the upcoming SXM-8 mission.
Departure! Just Read the Instructions droneship is outbound for the SXM-8 mission.— Gavin Cornwell 🚢 (@SpaceXFleet) June 2, 2021
Tug Finn Falgout will tow JRTI downrange to meet with support ship GO Quest.
Views from Fleetcam: https://t.co/C4G89syG4W pic.twitter.com/KzbEZk0Yv6
SiriusXM’s radio broadcasting constellation provides service to around 34.9 million subscribers in the United States. The constellation currently has five satellites, SXM-8 will be the company's fifth satellite in orbit. 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. “The satellite, which weighs almost 7,000 kg [kilograms] 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(...) [as shown in the video below]. This reflector will allow SiriusXM programming to reach mobile radios, such as those in moving vehicles.”
The soon-to-be launched Maxar-built #SXM8 features our 1300-class platform, the leading spacecraft platform for communication #satellites. This high-power broadcasting satellite is more than twice as powerful as the 1st generation @SIRIUSXM constellation. https://t.co/4QYaC1uttg— Maxar Technologies (@Maxar) June 3, 2021
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 SXM-7's in-orbit failure does not affect the radio broadcasting service as a whole. Author's note: Thanks for supporting TESMANIAN! Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Featured Image Source: NASA Earth photo combined with Maxar Technologies SiriusXM satellite render edited by Tesmanian.com.
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.