SpaceX Aborts Launch of SiriusXM Satellite Atop Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX aborted its launch of a new satellite for SiriusXM via Falcon 9, after a strong week.
Brad Bergan

SpaceX aborted the Friday launch of a colossal radio broadcasting satellite for SiriusXM atop a Falcon 9 rocket, which would have served as a physical exclamation point to a busy and successful week. This week saw the debut of a next-gen cargo ship for the International Space Station, in addition to an explosive atmospheric test flight of the company's prototype rocket from Boca Chica, Texas, according to a tweet from SpaceX.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying a satellite for SiriusXM was slated to launch Friday, Dec. 11, at 12:55 PM EST, but was delayed for a third time less than one minute before launch, and subsequently scrubbed for the day, due to a need to recheck ground systems. The event streamed live on SpaceX's YouTube channel (featured below).

The mission will resume countdown to launch no sooner than Sunday, Dec. 13.


UPDATE Dec. 11, 1:15 PM EST: SpaceX 'stands down' from launch for ground system checkouts

SpaceX officially stood down from the Friday launch of the SiriusXM satellite, to carry out more ground system checkouts, at roughly 1:15 PM EST — 5 minutes before the launch window officially closed.

"Standing down from today's launch attempt to perform additional ground system checkouts; teams are working toward no earlier than Sunday, December 13 for next launch attempt of SXM-7," read a tweet from SpaceX.

The next launch attempt will go forward no earlier than Sunday, Dec. 13.

UPDATE Dec. 11, 12:58 PM EST: SpaceX scrubs Falcon 9 launch of SiriusXM satellite

SpaceX aborted the Friday launch of a Falcon 9 after a third delay. No announcement yet on the next flight attempt. This came on the heels of a "hold" call on the launch less than one minute before its scheduled launch.

UPDATE Dec. 11, 12:54 PM EST: SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch was paused

At 12:54 PM EST, SpaceX's mission control called "hold, hold, hold," to stop the countdown with less than a minute left until launch. Updates forthcoming on a possible delay or scrub.

The countdown was subsequently reset to T-minus 15 minutes, which means the countdown should begin before 1:05 PM EST, since the launch window closes at 1:20 PM EST.

UPDATE Dec. 11, 12:51 PM EST: Second stage fully-loaded, liquid oxygen, helium loading onto first and second stages

The Falcon 9 is less than four minutes away from launch, and liquid oxygen and helium are at present loading onto both the first and second stages of the SpaceX rocket.

To store more liquid fuel onto the rocket, chemicals are super-cooled to reduce the volume they take up. Everything is on-track for an on-time launch, according to the live stream.

Stay tuned for the imminent launch.

UPDATE Dec. 11, 12:48 PM EST: SpaceX airs SXM-7 details

The new satellite will provide data services to trillions of customers in the North American continent, and joins more than 90 Maxar-built satellites already in orbit, according to the SpaceX live stream.

UPDATE Dec. 11, 12:00 PM EST: SpaceX delays SiriusXM satellite launch again, for 12:55 PM EST launch

SpaceX delayed its forthcoming Falcon 9 launch once more — this time until 12:55 PM EST — while the launch team monitors upper-level wind levels.

"Now targeting `12:55 PM EST for Falcon 9 launch of SXM-7; team is monitoring upper-level winds," read a tweet from SpaceX.

The launch window lasts until 1:20 PM EST, so SpaceX may only have one more chance to delay before the company is forced to scrub today's launch.

UPDATE Dec. 11, 11:00 AM EST: SpaceX Falcon 9 launch delayed until 12:20 PM EST

SpaceX's Friday launch of the SiriusXM satellite atop a Falcon 9 rocket was delayed until 12:20 PM EST, according to a tweet from the company.

"New T-0 of 12:20 p.m. EST — Falcon 9 and SCM-7 continue to look good for launch," read the tweet.

SpaceX launching satellite for SiriusXM atop Falcon 9 rocket

As of writing, a Falcon 9 rocket is poised to blast off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 11:21 AM EST with SXM-7, SiriusXM's broadcasting satellite due to enter geosynchronous orbit at more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 km) above the Earth's equator.

The launch window extends until 1:20 PM EST, and a 90% chance of favorable weather exists for the nearly two-hour launch window — according to the 45th Weather Squadron of the U.S. Space Force.

Favorable conditions expected for SpaceX launch

"For the primary launch window Friday morning, favorable conditions are expected for launch with light onshore winds bringing the stratocumulus and cumulus deck over the local Atlantic into the coast," wrote the weather team in a Thursday outlook, Space Flight Now reports. "There will only be a small threat for this activity to potentially violate the cumulus cloud rule."

This is developing coverage of SpaceX's latest launch of a Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a satellite for SiriusXM to low-Earth orbit, so be sure to check-in with us here for the latest updates.

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