Sirius XM New Satellite Suffers Payload Failures in Orbit

Rendering of the SXM-7 satellite (Credit: Maxar Technologies)

Sirius XM’s newest satellite has suffered the failure of certain “payload units” following its launch last month, the satellite radio company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

The Maxar-built SXM-7 satellite was launched on Dec. 13 by a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster. The spacecraft began in-orbit testing on Jan. 4.

“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,” Sirius XM said.

“We do not expect our satellite radio service to be impacted by these adverse SXM-7 events. Our XM-3 and XM-4 satellites continue to operate and are expected to support our satellite radio service for several years. In addition, our XM-5 satellite remains available as an in-orbit spare. Construction of our SXM-8 satellite is underway and that satellite is expected to be launched into a geostationary orbit later this year,” the company added.

Sirius XM said it had purchased insurance policies worth $225 million covering the satellite through launch the first year of in-orbit operations. The company has notified underwriters of potential claims relating to SXM-7.