SpaceX carried its 25th mission of the year into orbit on Sunday December 13th at 17.30pm GMT. The client is pay-radio operator SiriusXM (SXM-7). The original scheduled launch was for Friday December 11th but was scrubbed because of technical issues.
The satellite was built for SiriusXM by Maxar Technologies. It is one of two satellites that are contracted to be SpaceX as part of a plan to replace older Sirius XM satellites currently on orbit.
Following the launch, the first stage booster made a textbook landing some nine minutes later onto the drone ship ‘Just Read the Instructions’.
SpaceX, despite the landing problem of its giant Starship rocket on December 9th, is on a roll. This year is the company’s most successful with a record 24 launches of its rockets. The SiriusXM is SpaceX’s 25th launch – and the year is not yet over. There’s another mission with a science payload slated for December 17th.
The SiriusXM craft was lofted by a Falcon 9 main stage that had already flown six times. For this, its seventh flight, it will carry a 7000 kgs satellite which will beam radio programming to subscribers across the US, Canada and the Caribbean region.
The SiriusXM satellite operates in the S-band (2.32-2.345 GHz). SXM-8 is scheduled for launch in 2021.