Release of SpaceX’s SiriusXM satellite

As the corporation reaches the end of a record-breaking year, SpaceX Falcon 9 recently launched spacecraft for the satellite radio firm SiriusXM on December 13. The Falcon 9 took off around 12:30 p.m. Eastern from the Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Base.   Two days ago, SpaceX cleaned a former launch attempt just 30 seconds before the liftoff due to a possible, but undefined, the problem with ground systems.

Thirty-one minutes after the liftoff, the rocket’s upper stage launched the SXM-7 satellite into the geostationary transfer orbit. The first stage of the rocket arrived on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean successfully. Previously having deployed the Demo-1 commercial crew flight test, the Radarsat Constellation Mission, as well as four sets of the Starlink satellites, the stage was its seventh flight. SXM-7 is among the two new optical audio radio service satellites which Space Systems Loral (now the Maxar Technologies) requested from SiriusXM in the year 2016. At launch, the spacecraft, weighing almost 7,000 kilograms, will produce over 20 kilowatts of power and mount a massive antenna that will relay programming in North America and the Caribbean for the SiriusXM subscribers.

The satellite is designed to replace XM-3, a satellite deployed in 2005, as well as operating in the geostationary orbit at 85 degrees West. In the year 2021, SXM-8, a second satellite, will be launched to substitute XM-4 at 115 degrees West. The flight is SpaceX’s 24th orbital flight in the year 2020, the most launched by the organization in a specific year. The SXM-7 mission, however, was just the number three, where neither the United States government nor the SpaceX firm itself was the primary customer. The fourteen Falcon 9 launches were from Starlink’s SpaceX spacecraft. Five were for NASA, including private crew and freight flights to the International Space Station as well as Michael Freilich’s Sentinel-6 ocean research satellites. In contrast, two bore GPS satellites for the United States Space Force Power of Vacuum. In January, SpaceX also conducted a suborbital Falcon 9 takeoff as an in-flight abort evaluation for NASA’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

In addition to SXM-7, the July deployment of ANASIS-2 military communications satellite, which was for South Korea as well as the August launch of SAOCOM 1B radar imaging satellite, which was for CONAE, Argentina’s space agency, has been the only Falcon 9 launches for clients other than the United States government and SpaceX. Another Falcon 9 launch happened this year, bearing a classified payload on a flight dubbed NROL-108 for the National Reconnaissance Office.

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