SpaceX launches SiriusXM broadcasting satellite
The satellite will operate in the S-band spectrum and feature a large deployable antenna reflector.
SpaceX launched a veteran Falcon 9 rocket on its third space trip on June 6 to transport a massive radio satellite into orbit for Sirius XM before returning to Earth.
The Falcon 9 took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Station. The rocket, which previously launched the Crew-1 and Crew-2 commercial crew missions for NASA, landed on a drone in the Atlantic Ocean eight minutes and 45 seconds after takeoff.
The satellite will use its own propulsion system over the next few weeks to reach the required circular orbit 22,300 miles above the equator.
The 15,400-pound SXM-8 spacecraft features a large, flat-shaped mesh antenna designed to relay programming to mobile radios across North America.
The satellite has a nominal life of 15 years.
SiriusXM originally planned to replace two older satellites, XM-3 and XM-4 – dubbed Rhythm and Blues respectively – with SXM-7, launched last December, and the same SXM-8 launched on June 6.
SXM-8 is owned and operated by SiriusXM as part of its constellation of high power broadcast satellites. The company ordered SXM-8 alongside its twin, SXM-7, in July 2016 to be built by Space System / Loral (SSL), now Maxar Technologies. Both satellites are based on the Maxar 1300 satellite bus.