The latest Sirius XM satellite, SXM-7, has crashed in orbit

In a report with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the corporation revealed that SiriusXM’s latest satellite, SXM-7, experienced undisclosed defects during in-orbit processing on January 27. “During the in-orbit evaluation of the SXM-7, incidents happened which have caused the problem of specific SXM-7 payload modules. An assessment of SXM-7 is ongoing. The seriousness of the situation to SXM-7 has not yet been known,” Sirius XM stated in the filing. It is unclear at this point whether it is possible to retrieve the satellite.

The satellite, designed by Maxar Technologies, was deployed on December 13 on the Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX. The corporation said that the malfunction was unconnected to the launch vehicle and which a complete satellite assessment is ongoing. The satellite SXM-7 is centered on an SSL-1300 satellite bus from Maxar Technologies. Driven by 2-large solar arrays (as well as on-orbit storage batteries), it was planned to work between 2.32 GHz as well as 2.345 GHz in the S-band spectrum. The 15, 432-lb. satellite (7,000 kg) is a component of a pair designed by Maxar and launched by SpaceX for the Sirius XM. The other, SXM-8, is currently under development and is expected for deployment later this year.

Every satellite’s service life is 15 years, and it was planned to substitute two aging satellites already in space. The satellites are planned to support the optical radio operation of Sirius XM, offering coverage in the United States, Canada as well as the Caribbean. On January 4, which is a standard shakedown stage before a satellite joins operation, SXM-7 started its in-orbit testing process. Usually, the testing continues for several months. The organization is yet to decide what went so wrong but claims the satellite is under surveillance. “We do not anticipate our satellite radio system to be affected by these detrimental SXM-7 incidents,” Sirius XM stated in its filing.

“Our XM-3 as well as XM-4 satellites keep operating and are planned to sustain our satellite radio service for several years.” Although these two satellites have been the ones Sirius hoped to replace for many years to come, they are stable and are anticipated to remain to help the broadcasting operation. It also has an orbital replacement, SXM-5, which is waiting by, the firm also stated. Maxar Technologies passed all responsibility to Sirius XM after launch, which is a standard procedure in the launch market.

In a report of its own, nevertheless, Maxar reported that it is supporting the broadcaster in “debugging and identifying the scenario to determine the severity of the problem to the SXM-7 satellite.” As per Sirius XM, from deployment through this first year of service, it paid $225 million in net premiums for the mission protecting the spacecraft. “We have informed the underwriters of these regulations of a prospective applicant with regard to SXM-7,” Sirius XM stated in its report.