Featured Image Source: SpaceX
SpaceX is ready to deploy SiriusXM’s SXM-7 music-streaming satellite tomorrow, December 11. A six-times-flown Falcon 9 rocket booster is scheduled to liftoff for the seventh time on Friday at 11:21 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. “The one-hour and 59-minute launch window opens at 11:21 a.m. EST […] and a backup launch opportunity is available on Saturday, December 12 with a one-hour and 59-minute launch window opening at 11:21 a.m. EST,” the company announced. SpaceX is a leader in aerospace innovation -its the only aerospace company in the world that is actively reusing orbital-class rocket boosters in an effort to decrease the cost of spaceflight. UPDATE: SpaceX now targets launch window at 12:55 p.m. EST.
Now targeting 12:55 p.m. EST for Falcon 9 launch of SXM-7; team is monitoring upper-level winds— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 11, 2020
The previously flown first-stage booster that will deploy SXM-7 to space tomorrow is identified as B1051. It is filled with scorch marks from reentering Earths atmosphere multiple times, pictured above. The rocket previously supported SpaceX’s historic Demo-1 mission that propelled an uncrewed Crew Dragon spacecraft for the first time to the International Space Station in March 2019. B1051 also propelled the RADARSAT Constellation to orbit, as well as four Starlink satellite launches in 2020. SpaceX plans to recover the rocket’s first-stage a seventh time approximately nine minutes after propelling SiriusXM’s SXM-7 satellite to orbit. “Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ droneship, which will be located in the Atlantic Ocean. One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously supported the ANASIS-II mission in July 2020,” SpaceX stated. Watching a booster return from space to land vertically on an autonomous droneship at sea is always amazing. SpaceX could also attempt to recover the Falcon 9's top fairing with ships that are equipped with a giant net. The fairing conducts a parachute-assisted landing on the ships' nets. You can watch the mission Live in the video below.
Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported six missions and one of its fairing halves previously flew on the ANASIS-II mission— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 8, 2020
Falcon 9 will deploy the 15,400-pound SXM-7 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit where it will broadcast its signal to tens of millions of SiriusXM Radio subscribers across North America. SiriusXM enables subscribers to stream commercial-free, personalized music and podcasts to their cars’ radio or online. Satellite radio enables a more stable connection compared to traditional terrestrial frequency modulation (FM) radio stations. Maxar Technologies developed the satellite for SiriusXM. The company states “SXM-7 will deliver the highest power density of any commercial satellite on-orbit, sending more than 8,000 watts of content to the continental U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, increasing the quality of signal for SiriusXM subscribers.”
Image Source: Maxar Technologies
As of May 2017, SiriusXM has five music-beaming 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. “Once on orbit, the satellite will deploy a large unfurlable antenna reflector, which will enable broadcasts to mobile radios, such as those in moving vehicles,” Maxar Technologies said.
WATCH IT LIVE!
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.