SpaceX Successfully Launched Sirius' XM-7 High-Power Broadcasting Satellite

SpaceX's SXM-7 launch places one of the heaviest geostationary satellites into orbit.
Loukia Papadopoulos

SpaceX successfully launched the Sirius XM-7 (SXM-7) mission on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 12:30 EST, from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, according to a tweet from SpaceX.

This launch came on the heels of an earlier attempt, rescheduled from Friday, December 11.


Another successful SpaceX mission

The mission was accomplished with a Falcon 9 first-stage rocket booster, previously used on "Crew Dragon’s first flight to the International Space Station (Demo-1), [the] launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, and four Starlink launches in 2020," according to SpaceX's official website.

SpaceX then landed Falcon 9's first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. The event marked the 69th successful booster recovery.

SXM-7 among the heaviest geostationary satellites

The SXM-7 high power broadcasting satellite is one of two satellites set to replace the soon-to-be-defunct XM-3 and XM-4 crafts that were deployed back in 2005 and 2006, reports. It weighs a whopping 7,000 kg (roughly 15,432 Ibs), making it one of the heaviest geostationary satellites ever launched.

The SXM-7 is the property of SiriusXM, and Space System/Loral (now MAXAR Technologies) constructed it. The satellite will operate along with its twin SXM-8 satellite in the S-band spectrum for at least 15 years and boast a massive antenna reflector, according to Maxar's official website.

This will enable Earth-bound radios to broadcast without the need for a dish-style antenna. The two twin satellites will also have two large solar panels — capable of producing more than 20 kilowatts of power, NASA Spaceflight reports. So while the population of low-Earth orbit satellites may cause some to fret about space junk, at least SXM-7 and -8 will use renewable energy.

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