Falcon 9

SpaceX Falcon 9 Will Launch SiriusXM's SXM-8 Satellite Over The Weekend

SpaceX Falcon 9 Will Launch SiriusXM's SXM-8 Satellite Over The Weekend

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.

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.

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.”

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 Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

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.

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