A new satellite for the SiriusXM radio show across North America launched the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket into orbit on Sunday from Cape Canaveral to replace an aging broadcast station launched 15 years ago.
The Sirius XM’s SXM7 spacecraft, built by Maxer in Palo Alto, California, will be the first of two new generation digital broadcasting satellites set to join the company’s fleet in the coming months.
At the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, the satellite lifted about 15,000 pounds (approximately 7 metric tons) from pad top 40 of a Falcon 9 rocket EST (1730 GMT) at 12:30 pm Sunday.
A rocket in the sky on an Easter track off Florida’s space coast, the 229-foot (70 meters) Falcon 9 rocket surpassed the speed of sound in a minute, and then left its first stage booster in more than two and a half minutes on the plane.
Using the restarts of its Merlin main engines, the first stage SpaceX’s drone “Just Reed the Instructions” returned to a destination vertical landing several hundred miles east of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean. This successful rescue marked the seventh voyage into space for the SpaceX booster known as B1051 in the company’s rocket cargo.
Two SpaceX boats were sent down to retrieve two parts of the Falcon 9’s clam shell-like payload firing, which came out of the rocket’s nose just minutes after the lift was turned off.
The Falcon 9’s single-use upper level, meanwhile, is in orbit with the SXM7 satellite. The first burn of the upper stage put the spacecraft in an initial parking orbit, and restarting the journey for about 26 minutes plunged the commercial satellite into an elliptical “sub-synchronous” orbit.
The rocket was orbiting at an altitude of 12,000 miles (20,000 km) at the highest point on Earth. SpaceX says the Falcon 9 has sent its satellite passengers into perfect orbit.
A live video stream from the rocket showed the 27-foot (8 meters) SXM7 spacecraft separating from the upper echelon of the Falcon 9 in Africa.
Maxer, the spacecraft maker, confirmed the satellite was healthy following its launch on Sunday.
Shortly after launch, the satellite extended its solar panels to generate electricity, Maxer said. The ground teams at Maxer also made contact with the satellite as expected.
“Next, the SXM7 will begin to shoot its impulses to begin its journey into its final geostationary orbit,” Maxer said.
These maneuvers will elevate the SXM7 to 22,000 miles (approximately 36,000 kilometers) towards a functional perch in geostationary orbit. In that orbit, the spacecraft orbits the Earth at the same rate as the planet, which gives SXM 7 a fixed view of the United States 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The satellite will continue to provide Sirius XM’s audio entertainment and information services to consumers in the United States in a consistent and reliable manner, and will expand Sirius XM’s coverage in Canada and the Caribbean over the years to come,” Sirius XM Choide said in a statement. “The SXM7 will deliver the highest power density in the orbit of any commercial satellite, sending 8,000 watts of content to the continent, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, which will increase the power and reach of the SiriusXM signal.”
Once in geostationary orbit, the SXM7 satellite – based on Maxer’s 1300-series spacecraft design – developed a large S-band antenna made by L3 Harris to transmit radio signals to receivers in moving vehicles.
The XM3 radio broadcasting satellite is expected to replace the SXM7 at 85 degrees west longitude. Built by Boeing The XM3 satellite was launched in 2005 Marine Launch Zenith 3 SL on a rocket.
The SXM7 launch was scheduled for earlier this year, but an issue during a space shuttle test on the Maker delayed the voyage. SpaceX on Friday wiped out a launch attempt to conduct additional ground system tests.
Sirius XM Sunday has five of its active satellites, the XM3 being the oldest.
The company said in a statement that next year the dual satellites SXM7 and SXM8 – also on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket – will extend SiriusXM services until at least 2036.
SiriusXM’s SXM7 satellite launch is a busy week for SpaceX.
On Dec. 6, SpaceX Introduced its first upgraded cargo dragon spacecraft From Pat 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The automated cruise ship – a new version of the game upgrades and based on SpaceX’s human – rated crew dragon capsule – arrived at the International Space Station on Monday, December 7 for successful docking.
Meanwhile, the SpaceX teams in South Texas a High altitude test aircraft Wednesday at the company’s next-generation starship vehicle. The 164-foot (50 m) prototype rocket flew to methane-fueled Raptor-powered aircraft altitudes and then made the descent toward a landing pad at the SpaceX test station in Boca Chico, Texas, near the US-Mexico. Border.
The starship rocket made a dramatic turning maneuver to land, but the vehicle exploded in a fireball, causing it to crash land. Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, praised the test flight.
The reusable starship can eventually carry more than 100 tons of cargo into space, and can carry people to the moon, Mars and other deep space locations.
With the introduction of the SXM7, SpaceX 2020 has fulfilled 25 successful Falcon 9 passengers so far.
There is one more release on this year’s SpaceX schedule. A Falcon 9 rocket is ready to explode from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center before 9 a.m. Thursday with a classified load for the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency, the National Reassessment Office.
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