Pay-radio’s SiriusXM’s brand-new satellite, launched only a few weeks ago, has suffered an in-orbit malfunction and while the full extent of the damage is uncertain the craft is likely to be declared a total loss.
SXM-7 was launched on December 13th by SpaceX.
In a formal statement to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) the craft’s manufacturers, Maxar Technologies and SiriusXM said: “During in-orbit testing of SXM-7, events occurred which have caused failures of certain SXM-7 payload units. An evaluation of SXM-7 is underway. The full extent of the damage to SXM-7 is not yet known.”
SiriusXM says that the problem will not impact its satellite radio service because its existing fleet is healthy and operational and would support the radio service for several years.
The broadcaster also has an in-orbit back-up in the shape of its XM-5 satellite, and has a further craft under construction (SXM-8) which should launch later this year.
SiriusXM, in its SEC filing, says that the SXM-7 craft is fully insured for $225 million and it had notified its insurers of the potential claim.